Attachment: What Works?

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Year Published
Author (Individual)
Wittmer, Donna.
Author (Organization)
Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning.
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This brief explains that attachment refers to the continuing and lasting relationships that young children form with one or more adults and to the child's sense of security and safety when in the company of a particular adult. The importance of attachment is highlighted and characteristics of children with secure attachment relationships and with insecure attachment relations are described. Cultural differences in attachment are noted before strategies that teachers and caregivers can use to promote children's secure attachment are provided. Strategies include: help parents feel competent and confident in their parenting; provide extra support to parents when needed; be warm, responsive, and affectionate with all children; engage in meaningful conversational interactions with children; be physically and emotionally available when a mobile infant or toddler explores his/her environment; comfort children when they are distressed; be an enthusiastic learning partner; let children know that you will provide safe behavior boundaries; provide small groups, low adult-child ratios, and primary care; move caregivers and teachers with a group of children to a new room as children develop; and develop program policies to refer families who need additional mental health support to the right resources. Additional resources are listed and a handout on attachment is included.

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