Thursday, June 15, 2006
Together Time with Your Adopted Child
Your adopted child needs quantity time: a stable, secure, warm and loving environment with you always there.

Point to objects and name them. Talk about what you are doing and why you are doing it.

When wanting your child to do something, give clear, simple instructions and then do the task together.

Spend time doing a lot of attachment activities (any ideas here?).

Follow the child’s lead in play. Discover your child’s personality and interests.

Display a lot of family photos with your new child and other photos of your new child around home.

Don’t let your child be alone ever. If your child is very young you might even need to take the child into the bathroom and or shower with you. You might try bathing together.

Don’t let your child be too independent. Your child needs to learn to depend on you. Regress through healthy dependence. Don’t let your child play independently for long periods of time. Even when cooking, let your child play nearby (i.e. taking pans out of the cupboard or helping you). Sit together when eating.

Go to age appropriate parks, restaurants, museums, library, etc.

Keep track of age appropriate developmental progress using development charts. Your child will most likely have some developmental delays, but should soon catch-up.

Child should have a consistent, daily schedule.

Respond immediately to crying

Meet child’s needs immediately (diapers, food, comfort)

Smile, reward good behavior and achievement with hugs, smiles

Try to keep a positive mood

Carry the child a lot, if possible, keep him close

Praise often

Be compassionate about irrational fears. Give child a flash night at night or water pistol if this will help

Make faces, be silly

Massage child’s skin with lotion. Wear the same lotion so you smell alike.

Wear the same color sometimes and point that out

Teach hugs

Practice milestones

Never break promises

Make an activity index card box with attachment and other activities- the child can pick a card

Try baby signing (See book Baby Signs)

Read books with facial expressions that reflect moods and a mirror to practice

Play; sing songs, finger plays, nursery rhymes

Use younger toys and games then their actual age- know the child’s developmental age

Good tooth care: Use fluoridated water, drink milk, toothbrush and paste- teach them

Teach child how to clean himself in the tub (good time to clean the bathroom too)

Take child wherever you go at first

Be consistent with your and your child’s detergent (allergy free), soap, shampoo- don't change smell

Do not let others besides Mom and Dad comfort child at first

Feed her ice cream, other foods (don’t let her feed herself at first)

No propped bottles

Introduce relatives and visitors slowly one at a time

Go slow- don’t hurry your child

Don’t over-schedule- do what she likes to do

About the first six months no babysitters/ never leave unsupervised/ child sits, plays, works and rests near parent

Begin with leaving for a 15-minute period. Leave the child in your home with a responsible person the child knows.

When you do finally leave your child to go out for an evening let the child use your pillow in her bed, wear Mom’s t-shirt to bed, give him a photo of you and tell him that you have one of her that you are carrying in your purse. Be reliable- return when expected. Do not ask child if it is OK for you to go out.

After a few months, branch out into attending playgroups, mommy and me classes, story time at the library

Transition into daycare or preschool after being home a year or two

Important to have family dinners, vacations, special birthdays, family outings (i.e. swimming, camping, boating, shopping, out to eat)

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Blogger 6blessings said...
Very practical advise. A lot of it is just like with all children. When my kids were little, I used to clean the bathroom during bath time too.

Blogger Debbie said...
I like the bath one and the first time you leave them at night. Good tips.
I want to know how long you are supposed to do some of these things like respond immediately to crys. I know it depends on the child but how will I know when he/she is ready?

Blogger jeneflower said...
I guess you are supposed to respond to the crying until they can start using their words instead of crying to communicate how they feel. Just a guess.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Jeneflower, you are so ready. Your past few posts are so thoughtful and informed. I hope you get a referral very soon.

Oh, have you seen the book by Becky Baily called "I Love You Rituals"? Its good for bonding stuff (not specifically an adoption book). Not a book you need to buy, reading through it a little is enough to get the idea.

PS: My opinion, on the crying depends on the age. My baby was almost 7 mos old. She wasn't used to crying for attention (crying never worked, why bother). When she would cry, her eyes would roll back, she would cry in a despairing rage. You couldn't talk her down. So at first I responded to every squeak so she knew someone was there. When I felt she had adjusted fairly well (about three mos) and was more relaxed, less fearful....I started using more normal parenting styles of teaching to sleep etc. I think you have to see how the child is doing and react accordingly. ;-) Just my opinion, I have only one child for experience.

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