Dear Savvy Auntie,

My niece is 15 months old and very connected to my husband. I don't seem to be able to connect with her as long as he's around. I would love to deepen our connection, but it's hard since we live so far away. Any suggestions?

Disconnected Auntie

Dear Disconnected Auntie,

Have no fear… 15-month-old girls tend to be more attracted to daddies, uncles and grandfathers than their female counterparts. This will change as they get closer to two years old.

In the meantime, there are definitely things you can do to maximize your relationship with your niece. When you see her, ritualize your interactions. By this I mean sing the same song a number of times, read the same story, and use the same phrases with her. A very effective prop is the book “Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb”. The refrain is “dum-ditty, dum-ditty, dum -dum-dum” - I can see her smiling with delight already! Also, do as much actual “hands-on” caregiving as she will allow. Be sure to call her and since she probably won’t talk on the phone just sing the first lines of your special song. If you have Skype on your computer, this is a great way to keep in contact.

Best of luck,
Natalie Robinson Garfield

Published: March 1, 2011
Homepage photo: dolgachov  

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