Children learn about the world around them through positive parent-child/teacher-child relationships. As they grow and change, they look to their parents/teachers to determine whether they are safe, secure, and loved. This also prompts how they will build their future relationships.
A secure attachment leads to healthy social, emotional, cognitive, and motivational development. Children can gain strong problem-solving skills when they have a positive relationship with an adult. When that safe/secure base is present, this means cooperation follows connection. When children and parents/teachers feel a sense of connection with each other, cooperation is more likely to happen. Disconnected children can be disruptive children.
Promoting independence is also important in having a strong bond. The more a child is able to learn/explore on their own, it builds up their self-esteem and confidence within themselves. So, when a child has a strong bond, this allows them to feel free to explore the world around them and know that they have someone to fall back on when there is a problem.
Here are some ways/ideas to build that strong bond:
• 2 by 10 –
o Spending two minutes a day for 10 days in a row to play with them/talk with them about whatever they want. It’s important to keep in mind, that this is not the time to talk about previous behaviors. This is a dedicated time to follow their lead.
• I Love You Rituals –
o These optimize your child’s brain for success at school and in life.
o They increase the learning potential and effectiveness through touch.
o It creates loving rituals that hold families together even through the roughest times.
o Lastly, it strengthens the bond between adults and children that insulates children from drugs, violence, and peer pressure, laying the foundation for mental and emotional health.
o You can either use an I Love You Ritual that’s already out there, or you can make up a special ritual between you and that child.
Here are some ways/ideas to strengthen that strong bond:
• Play –
o It builds a bond within the family, whether that be the home family or the school family. It allows parents/teachers to listen in a very different, but productive way. When adults observe children, or join in play, they’re able to learn to communicate or offer guidance more effectively. Children also have the ability to express their frustrations, which allows the parent/teacher to better understand their needs.
• Listen and Empathize –
o Empathy teaches emotional regulation, integrating the brain so children can take personal responsibility for their actions. It also provides the mirror for children to become aware of their feelings and in turn, aware of themselves.
o Empathy helps adults and children know their relationship can stay strong even when limits are set and conflict ensues, therefore demonstrating the relationship can bend instead of break during conflict and intense emotion.
By Kara Koepplin, LMSW – Mental Health Specialist