What Is a Secure Attachment?
Secure attachment is a relatively big subject when it comes to infant development and parenting. Still, it is just as important for parents of older children as it is for first-time parents. Secure attachment is a psychological state in which a baby feels loved, cared for, and connected to their caregivers, and is familiar to most of us. Our attachment bonds are forged early and reinforced throughout life, eventually becoming our emotional foundations as adults.
How do I Create a Secure Attachment with my Baby?
- Hold and cuddle your baby. Holding and cuddling your baby is one of the most effective ways to create a secure attachment. You are bonding with them as you hold them, they will feel the warmth and love through you, connecting you both together.
- Make eye contact. Psychologists believe that a baby’s bond with its mother helps the baby learn how to develop emotionally. Bonding starts when a baby learns how to look at you, respond to your voice, and express emotions. You can convey a lot of emotions through the eyes, babies can feel comforted by their parents’ eyes.
- Watch and listen to your baby. A healthy attachment between parents and their children starts with healthy relationships between parents. How you act to those around you in front of your baby can influence how they react. So, if you are noticing them acting differently at certain times, it is good to notice your surroundings and see if anything has changed to make them act abnormally.
- Comfort your baby every time they cry. When your baby cries, your instincts are to comfort them so they are soothed. “Don’t bother,” some might say. “Everyone knows that babies cry a lot.” But there is something about those all-encompassing cries of a newborn that can make parents want to do everything they can to stop them from crying. Your baby will cry for a variety of reasons. They may be tired, hungry, uncomfortable, or lonely. By responding to your baby’s cries, you strengthen their attachment to you.
- Speak in a warm, soothing tone of voice. This attachment plays such a significant role throughout a child’s life, not only emotionally but also physically. When a child feels safe and secure, they are more confident to explore the world around them. And the more a child is confident to explore and experience the world around them, the more they will learn and grow. So, speaking in a soothing tone, in general, can keep them calm, especially if they are upset or angry about something. If they see you as a calming presence and hear you as one too, they will feel more secure.
- Maintain realistic expectations of your baby. From the moment your baby enters the world, they will rely on you for everything. You are their first teacher, and your baby’s attachment bond with you is a life-long relationship. So, if they are not crawling or playing within the same time span as other babies, understand that they all grow at their own pace and yours will develop, you just need to give them time and support.
- Practice being fully present. Give undivided attention to your baby periodically throughout the day. This could mean you will be distraction-free, including television and cell phones.
- Practice being self-aware. Many of us experience disconnection from ourselves, our families, or our partners, and it makes it harder to parent. Unfortunately, some parents spend years trying to fix their relationship problems while parenting from a place of disconnection. The connection comes when you practice being self-aware, and your parenting becomes more authentic.
The bond between a parent and child is one of the strongest connections in a child’s life. Whether it is your biological child, adopted child, or foster child, the bond between a parent and a child is sacred.