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Serving up Love and Affection on Children's Day

26 October 2005

Serving up Love and Affection on Children's Day

We all thrive on a healthy diet of love and affection, so Plunket is delighted that it is the theme of Children's Day on 30 October.

Plunket's New Zealand President, Kaye Crowther, says love and affection are as necessary to human beings as good food and fresh air for keeping healthy.

"For babies, love and affection are nothing short of brain food," says Mrs Crowther.

"Research around the world has shown that loving touch, cuddling, cooing and generally really showing your baby how wonderful you think they are is the best way for them to learn to appropriately feel and show love for themselves and others.

"But that isn't all. Meeting a child's needs with a warm, nurturing parenting style also promotes brain development and higher level thinking.

"So, well-developed reasoning skills, educational achievements and even future employment potential can - to a very large extent - be credited to the quality of care and the love and affection we receive as children. The entire community benefits and, as such, the community has a very important role in supporting parents to give their children their best.

"A connection between our emotional health and our physical health has also been established. Given this fact, it isn't surprising that babies seek attachment from their earliest days," says Kaye Crowther.

She says sucking, grasping, smiling and crying are all cues your baby needs you. A caregiver's positive reactions to their child's needs will allow the child to trust them and to feel safe in the world which in turn allows the child to relax and grow and develop into their full potential. The love a child feels teaches them to accept and love themselves.

"It's a lot like that saying 'you are what you eat'. Given the positive benefits it has on their emotional, physical, and mental health, love and affection is the very best thing you can include in your child's daily menu - not just on Children's Day but every day," says Mrs Crowther.


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