The emotional connections or attachments formed between parents/caregivers and their child will have a significant impact on a child's emotional development. It is important for children to form secure attachments (strong emotional connections) with their parents/caregivers. Parents can do a great deal to encourage emotional connections with their child. Below are a brief description of five interventions that can encourage your emotional connection with your child:
1. It is very important to be affectionate towards your child. Parents have an important role in helping children understand their own and other people's emotions. As a parent/caregiver you can describe emotions to your child and teach them how to express their own emotions. To gently touch/hug your child shows warmth and physical affection. If your child has been diagnosed with Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, Reactive Attachment Disorder or if your child are Sensory sensitive, physical touch and emotional connections could be challenging.
2.Your child seeks and needs to know that they have a sense of safety and security. Children experience a sense of security if you as a parent consistently tend to their physical and emotional needs. It is crucial for parents to set appropriate limits or boundaries for children and to adhere to the set limits as this consistency and structure can create a safe space. It will be in your child's best interest if both parents set similar limits, otherwise a child could experience confusion and they could become more anxious and fearful.
3. Parents need to model to children how to be warm and affectionate towards other people. If your child displays inappropriate interaction with others, intervene immediately and teach your child how to engage in an appropriate manner with other people.
4.Teach your child how to effectively communicate their needs and be sure to listen and pay attention to the needs your child communicates. Children need to be taught how to ask for help when needed, and they need to know who they can go to for help in their various contexts. Such as telling your child if they experience difficulties at school they need to speak to their teacher.
5. Do special activities with your child on a regular basis, especially activities you know your child enjoys. If you engage in special activities with your child this shows your child that you care and value them and this could enhance your child's self-esteem. Spending time with your child strengthens your emotional connection. This provides an opportunity for you as a parent to invest emotionally in the well-being of your child.
The above mentioned are only basic guidelines, it is still important to consider the unique temperament of your child. Make sure you as parents are accessible to your children to further the emotional understanding that you have of your child.