Being a new parent can be amazing, but it can also be scary and overwhelming. At times, it can be difficult to understand what your baby wants. A strong attachment will make it easier to understand your baby’s cues.
Building a strong bond is beneficial for both you and your child as healthy attachments help your child to become secure, confident, independent, and compassionate.
What is healthy attachment and how is it formed?
A healthy attachment is a deep and enduring sense of connection a child has with their caregiver. Building a strong attachment with your baby doesn’t happen overnight. It develops when you continuously respond to your newborn in warm, consistent ways.
Newborns count on their attachment to their caregiver for survival. Responding to your baby’s cues such as cries, coos, and babbles sets the framework for healthy attachment. Over time your baby will understand that their needs are being met. Your child will then develop trust in you and the world around them.
5 Benefits to building a healthy attachment
Cope better with separation. When your child has a secure attachment, they are able to separate from you with only mild distress and can accept your comfort with ease when you return.
Explore with curiosity and confidence. When your child is attached to you, they feel safe with you and their surroundings. They can rely on you to meet their needs, which provides them with a sense of safety and security. This allows them to explore their environment with curiosity and wonder.
Focus on being a child. Being securely attached, your child has more energy available to focus on the tasks of childhood (learning, growing, developing skills).
Easier to parent. A deeper attachment leads to deeper vulnerability. Your child will develop psychological intimacy, which allows them to share their heart with you. We can parent children whose hearts we do have.
Allows your child to relax. Insecurely attached children struggle to relax because they do not trust that their caregiver has control over situations. This can lead to the child experiencing an ongoing feeling of anxiety.
Attachment is a child’s greatest need. Building a strong attachment with your child will help them stay on a healthy development track as they age.
If you have questions about attachment or parenting, or you are noticing some behaviours in your child that you believe are problematic, connect with your EFAP for support. You may have access to parenting resource kits, childcare consultations, counselling, and others supports to assist you. We're here to help.