10 Tips for Bonding Securely with your Child

Research shows children who have secure bonds with their parents are better able to concentrate, have healthy social relationships, perform better academically, and best of all, feel good about themselves… So what constitutes a secure bond anyway?

A secure “bond” is developed between caregiver and child when that care-giver is able to provide a “Safe Haven” – a safe place for the child to turn to for comfort and protection. And if the caregiver can consistently and reliably provide that comfort and protection, this sets up a “Secure Base” for the child to feel confident to go out and explore the world. This ability to depend on a parent for safety and security fosters the child’s independence and confidence to explore the world.
To develop a Safe Haven and Secure Bond, parents and caregivers need to be accessible and responsive to their child.

1. Accessible: Are you available to your child?
Q. Do you make times in your day where you provide your child your undivided attention?
Q. Do you “tune in” to their worlds?
Q. Are you physically there but emotionally absent? Pre-occupied with technology? Work? Your own stresses?

2. Responsive: How do you respond to your child?
Q. When they do something good, are you there to celebrate with them?
Q. When they are struggling (worried, tempers flaring, can’t do something) do you support and encourage your child or criticise and blame your child?
Q. When they need you, do you turn towards them and support them, or do you turn away from them by saying “I’m busy”, “go away”, “later”?

Top 10 Tips for Strengthening Your Bond with your Child:
1. Family play – treasure hunts, play board games or card games, have a karaoke night, dance to “their” music, take funny pictures of each other, engage in fantasy play, play hide and seek.
2. Connect with words of affection – leave notes in your child’s lunchbox or on their pillow. Little reminders can make a huge difference to a tough day! Say “I love you”.
3. Family rituals –eat together several times a week, have family meetings to express feelings and share happy moments of the day, go on outings, have concert nights, have special ways to tuck your child in to bed and say good night, these are the fond memories you are encoding for life.
4. Find time to laugh, talk, and learn about each other. Play 20 questions and see how well you know your child. Swap jokes at the dinner table. Play 20 questions or eye-spy in the car.
5. Listen to your child in a way that builds trust. Make them feel heard and respected by really listening, try to understand what is going on inside for your child, rather than interrupting, criticising, or arguing with their feelings
6. Find ways to say “yes” to your child. When you find yourself saying “no” ask yourself “why not?”
7. Turn off technology. Put down your phone and handheld devises, turn off the t.v. and the computers.
8. Validate your child’s feelings.
9. Focus on your child’s strengths and build on them. Help them notice what they do well.
10. Talk positively about your child in front of others and watch them beam with pride.

Disclaimer: Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only and is not intended to replace advise from your doctor or registered health professional. Readers are urged to consult their registered practitioner for diagnosis and treatment for their medical concerns.

Blog written by CBT Professionals Clinical Psychologist on the Gold Coast, Dr Karen Gallaty. CBT Professionals are a team of clinical psychologists on the Gold Coast with offices in Coomera and Nerang. Gold Coast CBT psychologists offer services to adults, children, and couples. Please call and make an appointment on 56 683 490.

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