Question: I would love to know how to Foster Healthy Adult-Child Attachment at School and at Home.
4 VIllages says: Children need adults to be reliable, caring and consistent when they are caring for them. Children learn to take care of themselves only as well as an adult cares for them. Healthy attachments develop as children’s needs are met consistently and reliably, and this helps them see the world as responsive and caring. This leads children to a sense of security and well-being that is critical in early development.
To develop a healthy attachment to your child – try the following tips.
✔ Always make Eye Contact with the child ✔ Smile and Talk to Your Child often
✔ Express Warmth and Touch at every opportunity possible
✔ Be Sensitive and Responsive to your child ✔ Get in Tune with Your Child
✔ Follow Your Child’s Lead in Play ✔ Read Together often
✔ Avoid Overstimulation
Strategies that will Foster a Helathy attachment
• Make yourself available. Young children can rely on you and come to trust you only if you are present. Try to make sure you are fully engaged in being available to your children when with them, not just a warm body that is present.
• Increase your knowledge and experience interacting with young children. Building healthy attachment requires knowledge and experience. Find opportunities to be around children by volunteering in child care/school settings, attending play or social groups, going to interactive classes with your child, etc. Pay attention to their likes, needs, desires and behaviors. Also, ncrease your knowledge by taking classes, reading books, watching videos or otherwise learning about healthy parent-child relationships.
• Be attentive to your child’s cues. Focus on your childs’ cues – recognizing that care or comfort is needed. Then interpreting those cues and responding in a way that comforts or helps the child.
• Provide a quick, consistent response to your child’s needs or cues. Children learn to trust when someone responds promptly and consistently to their needs, especially during the first years of life.
• Express warm, positive and caring responses as you interact with children. That extra word of reassurance, the caring touch or hug – these shape a child’s experience of security. Be nurturing. Be understanding. You should give children love, affection and touch abundantly as you interact with them.
• Respond to children being “in tune” with their cues. Parents need to respond appropriately to a child’s signals.
• Follow your children’s lead and cooperate with them in how they try to play or interact, rather than forcing them to follow your own desires for interaction. Cooperate with children when they make efforts to interact and follow their lead. Provide opportunities for interaction, but don’t take the lead. You can start it off, but let the child go with it. Pay attention to your children’s actions and “mirror” them, cooperating with them as you play or help them.
• Avoid over-stimulating your child as you interact. Pick up to their cues that they have had enough. Look for the signs of them losing interest in the play, and then end it.
Parents need to understand that attachment challenges may result from a variety of factors, including:
• Temperament of the child
• Prenatal or birth trauma (low birth weight, extended time in medical care, fetal alcohol syndrome, etc.)
• Significant family trauma (divorce, death, etc.)
• Poor family modeling for parents (parents in childhood had poor attachments themselves, etc.)
• Troubled or hostile home environment
These and other factors may significantly interfere with healthy attachment forming. All parents and caregivers should consider the possible influence of such factors in their own adult-child relationships.
For more information of building healthy attachment, please see https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/famsci/fs631.pd