Have you heard of love bombing? Does it work and how do you do it?
What is love bombing?
It’s about giving your baby or child your full attention, to be fully present with no distraction.
In its simplest form it’s spending some quality, uninterrupted time with your child. Commonly it’s used for children aged 3 to early teens with behavioural problems we think this type of approach, with some adaptation is very effective with much younger children too.
A concept that is important for all humans, of any age. Especially when we can all get so distracted by social media, emails and our notifications buzzing all the time.
What can love bombing help with?
Love bombing involves spending bursts of one-on-one time with your baby or child, away from other family members. You hand over to them as much control as possible about what you do together while sharing with them expressions of love.
The phrase ‘love bombing’ was made popular for parenting by Oliver James a clinical child psychologist. He says it’s a method good for resetting the emotional thermostats of children and their parents. This helps to set them on a much happier trajectory. It works because the fundamental needs of children are the same everywhere.
Why love bomb your children?
It’s all about connection, it’s about being there and focusing on them and nothing else.
If you notice your child is going through a difficult time at the moment, struggling with a transition or a change in the family like a new sibling, house move or nursery.
Maybe there are more tantrums than usual or perhaps you are finding it hard to understand them, maybe they are anxious, shy or having problems sleeping or having other emotional difficulties.
Love bombing can help you get close again and realign the way you relate to each other.
Children use play to convey feelings they cannot articulate in words. If we have been away from them during the day, it can be difficult to relate to their day’s experiences. It can be really helpful to take the time to observe them, watch their play to get a real sense of where they are at.
All about the 1:1 attention
It is also valuable if you have more than one child at home and find yourself torn by giving attention to both, but by the end of the day feeling like you haven’t connected with either, all day.
With babies, love bombing is a wonderful way of building the bond and attachment between you. It will be a very different activity than with an older child but just as important.
How do I do love bombing The Gentle Touch Way?
Turn the TV/ Radio off so the room is quiet. Put your phone and other devices in another room so you are not tempted to check them.
Tiny non mobile babies
- For a non mobile babies just use one toy, a good one is a light floaty scarf.
- Observe your baby.
- Try to work out their body language, looking at their movements, what are they trying to communicate to you. Are they happy, tired, or hungry?
- Make lots of smiles and mimicking their noises and facial expressions.
- Also have moments of quite when you just watch them, getting eye contact when you can.
- If your baby is mobile then just let them explore the room and pick up whichever toys they go for.
- Let them lead the play, you can copy and join in but the idea is for them to have the suggestions of what you do.
- Allow them to lead, try not to fix their play or change direction.
- Make lots of eye contact, smiling and positive body language.
- Try and get down on the floor with them, lying next to them as they play, getting on their level.
Toddlers and older children
- The theory is to allow children the choice and control of the activity you. This is, of course, all within your boundaries of time, budget, feasibility and family logistics.
- It can be anything from one extreme taking your child away for the weekend or a one whole day out with them, but even just setting aside one hour devoted to them can help.
- You don’t have to spend lots of money, it’s not about being lavish or spoiling them with gifts.
- It’s about quality time 1-1, talking, relaxing and building your relationship.
- It’s also not about saying yes to everything.
How does love bombing help my child?
You might wonder how on earth this helps a child, especially if they are already highly strung or ‘out of control’. Some parents think that in this situation we need to have more control over our child, not less.
This isn’t the case.
- We make it clear to the child that this is our special time, getting to know you day, 1-1 day or love bombing day whatever you want to call it.
- This is outside of our normal home life and is a special time with special rules.
- Of course you are still the parent providing safety and boundaries to your child and you can gently explain that.
Behaviour or sleep problems are often stuck in a cycle of anxiety/ /nagging/shouting/ and raised cortisol for both you and them. Break the routine and lowering the stress hormone can be the magic needed to re set things for you and your child.
Remembering your special time
A lovely outcome also can be to create a keepsake of your time together. This could be a teddy or toy whilst out but could be something you made together if you stayed in.
This can be a useful tool to use if your child has trouble sleeping, it can remind them of a happy place therefore helping them relax.
What if I can’t face it?
It is important also to note that you should make sure that you are in a good place for love bombing before you do it.
If you are feeling stressed by work and can’t leave your phone as you need to check emails etc then this won’t have the desired effect.
Equally if your ‘emotional cup’ is so empty that you cannot possibly give to another person right now then you need to do that first. It can be a slower road but definitely one worth taking.