Remember, attachment forms over time. Missing one opportunity will not prevent you and your child from becoming securely attached, but a pattern of missed opportunities might.
Ask yourself: What can I do to help my child know how much I care for him and love him, and how important he is to me?
This is a lot easier than you might think. Think about the times when you are with your child but not interacting with him. A gentle touch, a kind word, a listening ear, a helping hand—children need these! Keep in mind that babies may not understand words, but they do understand the way words are said.
Ask yourself: What can I do to keep from feeling overwhelmed?
Life is busy, and it is sometimes difficult to choose attachment-building responses to children. When you are feeling irritated or hurried, remember: it is okay to take a time-out yourself sometimes. Call a friend or relative who may be able to watch your child while you take a walk, have a bubble bath or some other activity to relax and recharge. If stress causes you to miss an opportunity to connect with your child, don’t beat yourself up! Make a mental note and promise to not miss the same one next time.
Your goal is to provide your child with a stable environment in which he feels loved, cared for, safe and valued.
Think LOVE to develop a caring, attached relationship with your child.
Let your child know you love him with hugs, kisses, holding, touching and smiles as often as you can!
Offer her security and support by being there for her when she is learning new things, when she is sad or upset, as well as happy.
Vocalize your feelings to your child. Tell him daily how much you love him and care about him, and how important he is to you.
Even when you are angry and upset, use patience, and let her know that you don’t like the behavior, but you LOVE her!
Tips for Developing Attachment with Infants
Friends, Family and Home
- Encourage all family members to talk to baby.
- Allow older siblings to help with the baby.
- Make sure you can hear baby in his crib.
- Encourage family and friends to give baby time to get used to them before holding and hugs.
- Make sure baby has time with all adults in the home.
Activities and Television
- Read to baby while nursing or feeding.
- Respond when baby makes sounds.
- Gaze into baby’s eyes.
- Smile, talk, play and sing.
- Touch and massage.
- Use your face to show an emotion and then say what it is.
Learning, Childcare and School
- Tell baby about things she sees and feels.
- Put baby on the floor to explore and move.
- Choose childcare with a low child-to-staff ratio.
- Make sure caregiver is loving and holds baby often.
- Encourage him to crawl and explore.
- Give him time to adjust to a new childcare setting.
- Be sure that she has a consistent caregiver that is usually there.
Guidance and Discipline
- Respond when baby cries; it will not spoil this age.
- Learn which cries mean hunger, anger or boredom.
- Soothe baby with cuddling, swaddling, quiet music or a walk in a stroller.
- Reassure him when he cries and is fearful of strangers.
- Don’t scold.
- Involve family in entertaining baby when you are busy.