Supporting Healthy Attachments

Early child-parent relationships, often called “attachments” form the foundational basis for the child’s emotional and social functioning later in life.  The lifelong emotional ties between children and their parents is usually developed during the first year of life.  It is not unusual for children to develop attachments to several adults including grandparents, child care providers, babysitters, and close neighbors while one adult is usually the primary attachment figure in the child’s life.  Supporting healthy attachments between children and parents is one of the primary roles of a the early childhood educator.

1.  Help parents understand that comforting their child when s/he is distressed is not only OK but important. Responsiveness and sensitivity are at the core of secure attachments.

2.  Explain to parents that one of their key roles is to help their child navigate and explore the world.  This means that they must provide ample supervision while also leaving room for growing independence.

3.  Provide information to parents in the form of easily digestible newsletters or short copies of articles about parenting styles and behaviors.  With reflection and education, parents can grow and change to become better caregivers to their children with more secure attachments than they may have had as children.

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