Developing a secure attachment with your child can help them in many ways. Children with a strong bond with a parent/guardian are more likely to have higher self-esteem, perform better in school, have positive relationships, and manage stress. Here are four simple ways you can develop an attachment with your child.
Your child needs to see you as a safe place. Provide comfort whenever he or she is sick, hurt, or upset. Be physically available as often as possible. When your child feels safe, they can explore the world on their own, knowing they can return to you for security and comfort when they need it. Encourage your child to try new things by showing you believe they can do it on their own, but be nearby in case they need to return to you for comfort.
Interact with your child one-on-one. Discover activities you can both enjoy, play games together, talk and listen to his or her interests. Take your child’s lead on what they need; do not force a specific type of interaction based on your needs. These activities do not need to take up a great deal of time, but it is the affection and undivided attention that is important. Eye contact, warmth and touch, and smiles will help build attachment during these interactions.
Children need routines to feel secure. Having a routine for meals, bedtime, and any other regular activity helps your child establish self-discipline and security. Knowing what comes next allows children to start the next step in the routine on their own, encouraging their independence.
Be Understanding During Separation
Having your child spend time with another caregiver does not impact your attachment. Your child may create a bond with another person in addition to you. When leaving your child with someone else, establish a goodbye routine. This predictability helps your child feel secure. It is understandable for your child to be unsure, but they will likely mimic your behavior. Be confident and show your child it is not upsetting. If possible, gradually introduce your child to spending time away from you, slowly increasing the amount of time you are gone. Most daycares allow parents to stay onsite with their child to help with the transition. Some children benefit from a security blanket or familiar toy.
Establishing a strong attachment with a child is extremely beneficial to them as they grow. Providing security, warmth, and routine allows your child to feel safe and confident when they explore the world on their own.
These books offer additional suggestions on creating a strong attachment with your child: