Building a Secure Bond With Your Child – The Key to Emotional Health
"The level of cooperation parents get from their children is usually equal to the level of connection children feel with their parents." – Pam Leo
I'll never forget sitting on the steps in a swimming pool with my toddler granddaughter and two of her little friends. They are romped and played jumping all around the pool. They paid absolutely no attention to me.
I decided I could watch them just as well from a relaxing, dry lounge chair. As I settled into that warm, cozy chaise lounge, I was surprised to see the gleeful playing had stopped.
That brought home once again the power of a Secure Bond to support children's learning and development. Because I was simply in the pool as a safety net, the little ones felt free to venture out and try new things. But when I left there was no longer a safe haven close by, so their actions became inhibited.
It has been proven through years of research that when children feel a close, caring attachment to an adult they do better in all areas of life. And when they feel their parents are not there for them, children do not do as well in school, emotionally or with friends.
The closeness that creates a secure bond used to happen naturally because parents were constantly around. Today's world is different. Because children often spend the entire day away from their parents those daily connections do not happen spontaneously and the bond between parent and child is not as close as it needs to be. For a child to thrive and grow to her fullest potential, a strong emotional bond with a caring adult is essential.
The good news is, with a little effort, you can create the kind of close, loving relationship that is rewarding for both you and and your child. Here are five things you can do to connect and build trust with your little one:
1. Truly fall in love with who your child is. You can do this by observing and making a list of your child's special qualities, what she does that makes you smile, and what he enjoys doing.
2. Listen to your child When he speaks to you, stop what you are doing, look him in the eye and give him your full attention. Reflect back what he is saying so he knows you understand him. That will do more build trust than just about anything else you can do or say.
3. Express "Can Do" appreciation or recognition. Specifically describe what your child did, and its impact on you. (You should do this three times more than you give "suggestions for improvement."
4. Hug, hold and have special time together on a consistent, regular basis.
5. Include your child in problem solving that effects him. Ask his ideas for how to handle it and, when possible, use her ideas.