The benefits of healthy attachment are immense. When a child feels that they can trust their parent to meet their needs, they are more ready to go out into the world and learn new skills. This emotional bond that is formed not only stimulates brain growth but affects personality development. They learn that love is safe and reliable and learn to seek out loving relationships. An infant can also learn to expect that their emotional needs will be met, so if they are hungry or tired, they know that someone will be there to help them get what they need. Healthy attachment relationships have even been tied to self-regulation, self-esteem, healthy adult relationships, positive communication skills, and so much more!
There is no “one way” to achieve a healthy and secure attachment relationship with your child, but there are agreed on approaches and things to remember when you set out your parenting goals. Dr. Siegel, our speaker for our Annual Speaker event, suggested following a simple strategy for attachment using the 4 “S”s. Learn to understand your baby’s unique cues – they are reaching out to engage and communicate their needs and wishes; the 4 “S”s aids in reading those cues. Children need to be:
- Seen — this is not just seeing with the eyes. It means perceiving them deeply and empathically — sensing the mind behind their behavior, with what Dr. Siegel calls “mindsight”.
- Safe — we avoid actions and responses that frighten or hurt them.
- Soothed — we help them deal with difficult emotions and situations.
- Secure — we help them develop an internalized sense of well-being.
Tip: Attachment is something that you can easily build…you are likely already there! Even the little moments count… every time you respond to your baby you are laying the foundation for years of security and trust.