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A Child’s First Love: Affection in the Early Years

Peek-a-boo! Did you know that playing peek-a-boo with your child helps them build their trust in you just by responding to their cues? Their engagement in this kind of play is also a sign of their healthy social and emotional development.

Showing affection to your little ones in your daily interactions builds a life-long loving relationship, which will prepare them to face adversities in the future. Psychological studies have shown that loving and nurturing relationships in early childhood have an impact on how our children’s brains develop; it affects their relationships, mental health, and resilience in the future. Experiences where children feel loved, secure and safe helps them with emotional regulation and with how to respond to various situations. A loving and nurturing relationship shown through daily interactions, such as playing, is a great way for them to learn about social interactions that will be needed in the future.

Showing affection during early childhood has an impact on how our children’s brain development affects their relationships, mental health, and resilience in different situations once they grow up.

The Importance of Showing Affection

  • Allows for self-expression

  • Helps with communication and expressing emotions

  • Builds confidence to explore the world

How can we build a loving and nurturing relationship with our children?

Through PLAY! Children in the early years learn most while actively interacting with their environment through play and other meaningful activities, especially when done together with a primary caregiver like you!


An example of an activity that you may do together is playing peek-a-boo. While playing peek-a-boo, your child’s giggles are a sign that they want to keep on playing. Turning their attention away from you is a sign that they no longer want to play.

  • Your response to your child’s signals builds trust and reassures them of safety, love, and security.

  • Engagement in play is a sign of a healthy social and emotional development

  • It helps develop language and gross motor skills.

Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash

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