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talk 2 me Promoting Secure Attachment. Healthy Starts Committee. Outline. Alignment Rockford Case example Attachment How can we model and promote pro-attachment behaviors? Resources to support secure attachments Case discussion. Alignment Rockford Healthy Starts Committee. RPS 205 Goal

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Talk 2 me promoting secure attachment

talk2mePromoting Secure Attachment

Healthy Starts Committee


  • Alignment Rockford

  • Case example

  • Attachment

  • How can we model and promote pro-attachment behaviors?

  • Resources to support secure attachments

  • Case discussion

Alignment rockford healthy starts committee
Alignment RockfordHealthy Starts Committee

  • RPS 205 Goal

    • Create a preschool program that gives families access to the resources neededto properly prepare their children for their educational experience.

  • Tactic: Develop ‘train-the-trainer’ workshops for all youth-serving organizations and promote the Talk2Me behaviors


  • Children are healthy, feel safe, and are ready to learn when they start Kindergarten

  • The path to graduation starts in infancy…and Attachment is the key!

Case example
Case Example

  • Medical professionals

    • Hospital and medical office

  • Social service and public health providers

  • Childcare providers

  • Faith organizations

What is attachment
What is attachment?

“An emotional bond to another person that gives lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.”

John Bowlby, 1969

A relationship between a caregiver and an infant that starts before birth and continues to develop over time.

Why is attachment important
Why is Attachment Important?

Influences the infant or child’s physical, neurological, cognitive, & psychological development

Basis for trust/mistrust

Shapes how the child will

relate to the world, learn,

and form relationships

Secure or insecure attachment
Secure or Insecure Attachment

  • There is a continuum between secure and insecure attachment

  • Multiple factors influence

    cognitive and emotional


    • Primary caregiver

      • Environmental factors

      • Situational factors

Securely attached child behavior
Securely Attached Child Behavior

  • Confident

  • Curious

  • Able to pick up on social cues

  • Aware of others’ and their own emotions

  • More eye contact

  • Less anxious

  • More connected to their caregiver

  • More ready and open to learning

Insecurely attached child behavior
Insecurely Attached Child Behavior

  • Fearful

  • Anxious

  • Not aware of others’ emotions nor social cues

  • Avoids people

  • Withdrawn

  • Angry

  • Contradictory behaviors

  • Not as ready to learn

The early catastrophe 30 million word gap by age 3
The Early Catastrophe: 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3

Compared Language Development of Children Whose Parents Were Professionally Educated to Children Whose Parents Live in Poverty

B. Hart & T. Risley , 2003

American academy of pediatrics
American Academy of Pediatrics

“As trusted authorities in child health and development, pediatric providers must now complement the early identification of developmental concerns with a greater focus on those interventions and community investments that reduce external threats to healthy brain growth.”

American Academy of Pediatrics, January 2012

Attachment risk factors
Attachment Risk Factors

  • Poverty

  • Birth complications, prematurity, or infant health problems

  • Unwanted child

  • Lack of caregiver education about child development and interaction

  • Caregiver mental or physical health problems

  • Family conflict

  • Social isolation

  • Impaired child-caregiver relationship (difference in temperament)

  • Stress and anxiety

  • Time constraints: working parent(s) and/or single parent

  • Substance abuse

  • Domestic violence

  • Caregiver with history of childhood trauma/adversity

Attachment protective factors
Attachment Protective Factors

  • Understanding development milestones and importance of interaction

  • Strength of family system (stable home environment)

  • Supportive child-caregiver relationship

  • Good coping strategies and readiness for change

  • Children are wired to attach!

  • Strong social/emotional support network

  • Economic stability

  • Spirituality, cultural roots, and community connections

Attachment benefits
Attachment Benefits

  • Happy and healthy relationships

  • Children enter school prepared to:

    • Adapt to change

    • Self-regulate behaviors

    • Manage difficult experiences

    • Have positive interactions with others

    • Learn

  • Success in Life!

Who can help promote attachment
Who Can Help Promote Attachment?

  • Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings

  • Child care providers and teachers

  • Medical professionals

  • Faith communities

  • Social service and public health agencies

  • Everyone who interacts with children!

Call to action
Call to Action!

  • Talk to me!

  • Play with me!

  • Cuddle me!

  • Encourage me!

Talk to me1
Talk to Me

  • Have a conversation with me about anything!

  • Sing to me

  • Read to me

  • Respond to me

  • I understand more than you think I do!

  • Remember: Baby talk is smart talk!

Play with me1
Play with Me

  • Interact with me

  • Engage me

  • Smile and laugh with me

  • Spend lots of time with me

  • Get down on the floor with me

  • Make a safe environment for me

  • Be a kid again with me!

Cuddle me1
Cuddle Me

  • Hug me

  • Kiss me

  • Look into my eyes

  • Cradle and cuddle me

  • Hold me when you feed me

  • Comfort me

  • I like to be close to you!

Encourage me1
Encourage Me

  • Create a stable bond with me

  • Be there for me (reliably and consistently)

  • Pay attention to me

  • Give me lots of encouragement

  • Get to know me

  • Tell me positive things

  • Praise me!

What can my organization do
What Can My Organization Do?

  • Model healthy, realistic attitudes, beliefs, and expectations about pregnancy, childbirth, childrearing, and the parent-child relationship

  • Promote understanding of child development and realistic expectations for child behavior

What can my organization do1
What Can My Organization Do?

  • Promote positive relationships and quality learning experiences through:

    • Parent education

    • Family support

    • Early child care and education

    • Early intervention services

  • Remember: Non-judgmental approach will assist in ability to influence change

Teaching strategies
Teaching Strategies:

  • Model appropriate behavior with infants

  • Create a newsletter/bulletin board of information

  • Provide educational sessions/family activity nights

    • Tailor the message to your audience

    • What is attachment and how important is it?

    • What is baby feeling or thinking?

    • Communication with babies

    • Coping with anxiety and stress

    • Developmental milestones and activities, including take-home activities

Coaching strategies
Coaching Strategies:

  • Spend regular, quiet, face-to-face time with infant

    • “Watch, Wait, and Wonder”

  • Encourage sensitive, predictable responses to baby’s cues and signals

  • Point out strengths, rephrase negative statements

  • Highlight positive aspects of relationship

  • Enhance ability to see the child as an individual, and view from the child’s perspective:

    • ‘Speak for your baby.’

    • ‘What do you think your baby is thinking?’

Advocating strategies
Advocating Strategies:

  • Encourage parents to create a safe, predictable, development-conducive home environment

  • Build and support life management skills and effective use of resources

  • Help parents recognize options, claim power, and make healthy choices

  • Help parents identify and strengthen support networks for themselves and their child

National resources
National Resources

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences study (Centers for Disease Control and Kaiser Permanente)-

  • American Academy of Pediatrics-

  • Association for Treatment and Training in the Attachment of Children-

  • The Brazelton Institute-

  • Centers for Disease Control (includes information on maternal and infant health, child development, autism, and more)-

  • Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning-

  • Harvard University Center on the Developing Child-

  • Healthy Children (parent specific site from the AAP)-

  • North Dakota Department of Human Services (10 things every child needs with videos for each)-

  • Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics-

  • Yale Child Study Center-

  • Zero to Three-

Illinois resources
Illinois Resources

  • Many provide local support and services

  • Caregiver Connections-

    Rosecrance- Berry Campus is our local resource

  • Enhancing Developmentally Oriented Primary Care (EDOPC)

  • Illinois Association of Infant Mental Health-

  • Erikson Institute-

  • Illinois Early Learning Project (multiple videos and “tip sheets”)-

  • Infant Parent Institute (Based out of Champaign)-

  • Ounce of Prevention-

  • Voices for Illinois Children-

  • McCormick Foundation-

Rockford resources
Rockford Resources

  • Early Intervention via Child and Family Connections of Access Services of Northern Illinois-

  • CAP4Kids Rockford (coordinates all child related services in Winnebago and Boone Counties, especially those serving the underserved)-

  • Winnebago County Health Dept. -

  • Rockford Public Schools –

  • MELD -

  • Rosecrance- Berry Campus-

  • Early Learning Council of Rockford-

  • YWCA Childcare Solutions-

  • Coming soon: Dial 2-1-1

Additional presentation resources
Additional Presentation Resources

  • Nurturing Natures: Attachment and Children’s Emotional, Sociocultural and Brain Development. G Music 2011.

  • Children's Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect & DePanfilis D. Child, Neglect: A Guide for Prevention, Assessment and Intervention. 2006.