22 Ways To Create A Secure Attachment

Updated January 20, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Dawn Brown

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Children who form a secure attachment with one or more adults have many advantages in life. They're more independent, relaxed, and empathetic as children and later in life as well. They also develop a greater capacity to form healthy relationships throughout their lives. They learn more easily and have fewer behavioral problems. So, how do you create this wonderful secure attachment? Here are 22 of the most important ways.

Tend To Your Own Needs

A needy parent isn't emotionally available for their child. In fact, they may not even be able to take care of the child's basic physiological needs at times. When you meet your own needs, you aren't just doing it for yourself. It benefits your child, too.

  1. Get Enough Sleep

Start by getting enough sleep. That could be a tall order, especially during infancy when your child may be awake often and have needs during the night. At those times, you might have to resort to taking a nap when they nap. The rest of the time, you still need to use much of their nighttime sleep sessions for your own sleep. Waking up refreshed and rested gives you both energy and a more positive outlook.

  1. Stay hydrated And Well-Nourished.

Sometimes parents are so focused on their child, not to mention all their other duties, that they ignore their own basic physiological needs. Take time to drink water and other healthy beverages. Eat regularly throughout the day. When your child is old enough to eat the same foods you do, you can enjoy snack time with them.

  1. Find Ways To Relax

Relaxation can be a difficult goal for busy parents. Sometimes it may not seem that there are enough hours in the day to get everything done. You can learn relaxation techniques and use them whenever you feel stressed. Some of these include systematic muscle relaxation, spending time outdoors, and guided imagery.

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  1. Accept Your Limitations

No one can be completely available for their child at every moment of the day. Your child may be frustrated at times. They may be distressed at times when you can't comfort them. Feeling guilty about it helps neither you nor your child. Instead, accept that you aren't super-parent. Give them what you can, and don't stress about impossible things. Your child needs an overall sense of security, not a perfect parent.

  1. Nurture Adult Relationships

Positive adult relationships strengthen you emotionally. If you're a stay-at-home parent, though, it might be difficult to spend time with friends and family. If you're a working parent, you probably have less time available for other adults. Please make an effort to do it, anyway. Enjoy time with adults you care about, both with and without your child.

  1. Deal With Your Depression Or Anxiety

When you're depressed, you usually feel less energetic. It's harder to focus on what your child needs. You may neglect your physical health. You have no joy to share with your child. Anxiety can cause other problems. You tend to worry too much about your child and overprotect them. No matter how you try to hide it, your child will sense your emotional state. Talking to a therapist is a great first step in getting yourself back on track emotionally.

  1. Take Care Of Practical Matters

In two-parent homes, there's typically at least some division of responsibilities. If you're a single parent, all the responsibilities typically lie on your shoulders. Whatever is yours to manage, make sure you've taken care of it as best you can. Practical matters you need to manage may include finances, grocery shopping, housework, home maintenance, and others.

  1. Build A Strong Support System

When you have a strong support system, you don't have to go it alone. Friends, family, community organizations, your church, and your counselor can help you meet your physical and emotional needs. Try to avoid having all your support coming from parents with children the age yours. They can be helpful, but they're probably just as busy as you. Build your support system from people at all stages and various walks of life.

  1. Develop A Positive Attitude

When you're always looking for something to go wrong, that's exactly what will happen. Life isn't perfect. Eventually, something isn't going to go the way you think it should. Yet, you can shift your focus to looking for the positive in your life. When something goes wrong, take a problem-solving approach instead of dwelling on the negative.

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  1. Learn Not To Worry

Worry makes you tense. It can make you anxious and overprotective. But, how can you learn how not to worry? It may take some time to eliminate the worry habit. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you identify, evaluate, and change the thoughts that are behind your worries. Practicing meditation can also help you train your mind to notice negative thoughts and then let them go instead of ruminating yourself into a frenzy.

Meet Your Child's Needs

Taking care of yourself is a good starting point, but it isn't enough. You have to give your child what they need when they need it as much as possible if you want them to form a secure attachment. Here are ways to do it.

  1. Be Aware Of Your Infant's Needs

Whenever your child is in distress, they will show you signs of what they need. Infants express their needs through cries, giggles, smiles, and grunts. They might try to wriggle out of their diaper if it needs to be changed. They may pull at their ear if they have an earache.

As your child gets older, they may tell you what they need, but they might not, too. Their distress might show up as sleep problems or poor school performance, for example. You can't help them or comfort them until you find out they need you. You don't have to analyze everything they do. Just pay attention to unusual behaviors and expressions.

  1. Meet Their Physiological Needs

Children and especially infants can't meet their own physiological needs as you can. You need to make sure they have food when they need it, are hydrated properly, and have medical problems taken care of as quickly as possible. You can't ensure that they'll never feel a hunger pang or a touch of sadness. What you can do, though, is give them what they need before they struggle.

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  1. Be Responsive To Their Moods

When your child is happy and playful, you have a wonderful opportunity to connect with them positively. Meet their giggle with a happy expression. Please take a few moments to relax and play with them, allowing yourself to experience the joyful interaction.

  1. Provide Them With A Safe Place To Explore

The amount a child has to learn in their first five years of life is incomprehensible to most adults. To learn about themselves, you, others, and their world, they need to have the freedom to explore. Yet, if there are dangers in your home, exploring can turn ugly fast. Make sure they have a play area that's clean and free of hazards. They'll be safer, and you'll be more relaxed.

  1. Let Them Explore Freely

Once you've made sure their play space is safe, go ahead and allow them to explore it. You may feel the need to guide their explorations and direct their learning. That's fine sometimes, but other times, they need to find the world on their terms. Stand back and allow them to do it.

  1. Be Their Safe Base

As your child explores their world, there will be times when they want to reconnect with you in some way to feel safe. They may look back at you occasionally. They may be across the room from you and then come closer to you for a feeling of being supported. You don't need to jump in and take over. Just acknowledge them with a smile, a wave, or a hug if they initiate one. Then, let them go back to exploring.

  1. Comfort Them When They're Distressed

No healthy parent enjoys their child's distress. The truth is, though, all children will feel upset, frustrated, vulnerable, or unhappy at one time or another. Take the time to comfort them. Hold them or hug them. Talk gently to them. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple touch for them to feel better.

  1. Use Micro-Cues To Let Them Know You're There For Them

Micro-cues are small gestures and behaviors you can do to remind them that you're ready to help when needed. A smile, a touch, brief eye-contact, or a few comforting words can help them feel more secure. Make these micro-cues a part of your normal interaction with them. Older children and even adults still benefit from these small cues of support.

  1. Don't Push Them

Parents who push their children to do things they're not ready for don't help them achieve. Give them what they need to form a secure attachment, and they'll learn more easily. Certainly, please provide them with opportunities to develop. Then, have some trust that they'll do what they're capable of doing. You can encourage them and give them the tools they need to succeed. Just don't push your expectations on them.

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  1. Avoid Comparisons

You have to make some comparisons with other children your child's age. Otherwise, you might miss that they have developmental challenges. At the same time, you need to avoid any unnecessary comparisons. The fact that your neighbor's child had walked by ten months doesn't matter. If your child walks within the normal time frame, that's all that matters.

  1. Enjoy Their Uniqueness

Every child is unique, with unique genetic makeup and a unique temperament. Rather than comparing them to others, enjoy the things about your child that make him or her different from others. Find the special beauty in your child that sets him or her apart from others the same age.

  1. Look For Your Infant's Strengths

Every child has some strengths. They have to survive. Yet, too often, parents are so worried about their child's weaknesses to appreciate their strengths. You'll find yourself feeling more positive and loving your child if you notice their positive characteristics and what they're good at doing. They'll recognize your acceptance of them and feel secure that you care about them.

How to Get Parenting Help

Parenting has been called the most difficult job in the world. It certainly isn't easy for any parent all the time. If you find that you can't be the parent you would like to be, you can talk to a counselor to make positive changes in your attitudes and behaviors.

You can talk to a licensed counselor at ReGain.us right away to get the help you need through online therapy. A therapist can help you find new ways to meet your needs and the needs of your child, so you can help your child have the best start possible.


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