Parenting Counts is a product of Talaris Institute.


Give Your Child Wings

Why is it important to build a connection?

The world can be a very scary place for a toddler unless he knows you’ll be there when he needs you. That’s right. Knowing he can count on you makes him feel safe. The more connected toddlers are with their parents, the more secure they feel. This is called “a secure attachment.” Don’t confuse this with the physical need to be helped and be close. That’s part of it, but being securely attached comes with trust.

So how does secure attachment happen?

It’s all up to you as a parent. Being there when they need you is the first step. It beings when you respond quickly and with kindness to your baby. This builds trust and a bond. This connection continues as your child grows. Each time you respond in a caring way, your child feels more connected. Whether you are soothing him for a bump on his knee or helping him deal with frustration over a toy, you are strengthening your connection. So encourage, praise, and comfort your child whenever you can.

How do I know my child feels secure?

Just watch! You’ll see their confidence grow. Toddlers will want to explore. That’s how they learn. But believe it or not, children who are “securely attached” have more confidence to venture out on their own. Why is this? Because they know you’ll be there. You are the safe place to come back to when they need you. If they trust that you will be there, they will turn to you less and less.

How do you know when to help?

Every child is different. Some want help at first, and others don’t. The tricky part is knowing when to step in and when to step back. Your job is to stay in tune with your child’s feelings. If you are going to a new place, he might tightly grip your hand. When a child is exploring on a playground, he may run back to you for reassurance if something scary or unsettling happens or perhaps to check in with you. The best thing you can do is comfort him, listen carefully to his words, and give him time to recover. Before you know it, he will be off playing again.

Helpful parenting tips

Build a connection with your child that he can always count on!

  • When a child knows you’ll be there, he’ll feel secure.
  • When a child feels secure, he’ll be ready to explore.
  • Let your child be independent and try things on his own.
  • Encourage them with positive words, like “Good job!”
  • Stay close and respond quickly to your child’s needs.
  • Honor his feelings and listen carefully to his words.

Remember, your child depends on you, and parenting counts.