How to Stay Connected to Your Kid When You're Not Home
Not home? No problem. Your cell will do. Dallas psychologist Ann Dunnewold, Ph.D., author of Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box, tells how to bond even when you're away:
Give a ring. A new University of Wisconsin-Madison study found that, after a stressful event, girls who talked to their mothers on the phone calmed down as quickly as those whose moms were there to comfort them with hugs. Just hearing their moms' voices lowered their levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and triggered the release of oxytocin, the "love" hormone associated with close physical contact.
Cut a record. If you can't always pick up the phone, record yourself reading a book, singing a song, or just saying "hi" so your child can hear your voice when she wants.
Video chat. Get face time with your child on Skype or iChat to combine the auditory with the visual (one caveat: this may freak out some little kids). Or upload videos of yourself to a home computer that she can watch when she needs a dose of Mom.
Involve the other senses. It may not be just touch and sound that can trigger a feel-good jolt. Leave your child a piece of your favorite clothing (a soft sweater or silky scarf) that smells or feels like you.
Relax. Your bond is so strong that even the slightest reminder of you will likely soothe her till you return.
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