Babies arrive already connected. They learn very quickly to attach with their mum or dad. Those of you who have held small babies would have felt this but probably not thought about it so deeply. At 12 weeks old babies have learnt how to be picked up – they relax their body, lift their arms, lift their heads slightly and tense their legs. This innate drive for connection highlights how important it is for future success for children to be attached to a parent/carer. This connection that we all have, this attachment literally builds brains. If we have good relationships then the pathways between behavioural control, motor skills, language, memory, visual and emotion become solid pathways.
If connection builds brains, it also true that disconnection can damage brains. If these pathways aren’t created, then the connection between all of the different areas of the brain don’t exist. Those children or adults who haven’t had an emotionally available adult in their lives can have biologically different brains to those who have. Whatever we are providing or teaching those who have experienced trauma we are building on quicksand. There is no foundation, however we know from research that this is reversible.
If children have secure caring attachments created by us, the Emotionally Available Adults, the child’s emotion system can become more balanced and children can develop the ability to play seek and care as their bodies are flooded with different chemicals. These children begin to develop positive self-esteem, effective stress regulatory systems and have the capacity to build relationships which are lifelong skills.
Many adults have grown up with those that care for them displaying imbalances in their emotions systems. Not necessarily experiencing secure attachments themselves. This in turn impacts on how as adults our attachments are with children.
We can consider some of the attachments our babies and children have with their families.
There are lots of types of attachments and Beacon House contains lot’s of great information including information on different types of attachment https://beaconschoolsupport.co.uk/newsletters/understanding-the-four-attachment-styles
How we can we support healthy attachments?
‘Young children experience their world as an environment of relationships, and these relationships affect virtually all aspects of their development – intellectual, social, emotional, physical, behavioral, and moral. The quality and stability of a child’s human relationships in the early years lay the foundation for a wide range of later developmental outcomes that really matter.’ National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. (2004)
Nurturing relationships with important people inside and outside of the family can have a significant impact. Relationships can heal trauma. Ways in which we can support healthly attachments include connection, being in tune and emotion coaching.
Early Learning Contacts
Nicola Theobald, Lead for Early Years Partnerships
Kate Hubble, Early Years Improvement Officer
Kate Irvine, Early Years Improvement Officer, Early Years Consultant
Beth Osborne, Early Years Consultant
Ali Carrington, Early Years Consultant