Parent feeding baby on the floor

Beautiful Bonds Last a Lifetime

About the Author
Rachel Cook has been a Product Development Specialist at Great Kids® since 2017. Her passion for helping strengthen families is prevalent in her curriculum content creation. Before joining Great Kids, she worked as a home visitor with Kentucky HANDS. She lives in Berea, Kentucky, with her husband and new baby, where she loves writing and exploring nature. Contact her at rcook@greatkidsinc.net.

My home visiting journey started with a front-row view of a beautiful moment. A parent sat on the floor while lost in the gaze of their tiny human. As this parent lovingly stared at their newborn, their voice echoed the words that continue to ring in my ears today. “He’s all that matters.”

Almost a decade later, when I reflect on this memory, I can still feel this parent’s presence. At that moment, nothing else mattered in the entire world to this parent. It almost seemed as if time was standing still. Looking back on this memory, it’s obvious what was happening right before my eyes. This parent was fully present with their infant. A secure attachment relationship was forming.

Fast forward to now, and here I sit, writing a blog for Great Kids®. I no longer hurry from home to home with a bag packed full of manuals. Instead, those books are scattered amongst my home office. However, the moment shared with that parent and newborn still fuels my passion for writing products focused on secure attachments.

It turns out that in addition to supporting parents to develop healthy relationships with their children, I also have another passion. Last fall, a tiny human was placed in my arms, and raising them has become by far the best gift this universe could ever provide. These past months I have felt the love I saw pouring out of that parent years ago spilling from my own heart. Each time my baby flashes a smile, it’s like the world pauses, and sharing in their joy is all that matters. When a roaring cry breaks the silence of a room, somehow times freezes, and racing to my little one is all that matters. Those magical moments when I see my newborn master a new skill, the world stands still yet again, and witnessing their learning is all that matters. These interactions are familiar to so many parents. They may seem like the expected everyday exchanges between parents and children, but we’ve learned that these interactions form secure attachment relationships.2  

Attachment is probably a word you’re quite accustomed to as a home visitor. It’s often thought of as the strong bond a child shares with a parent or another adult.1  This close connection does not require parents to buy expensive toys or download any app. Instead, secure attachment relationships grow when parents repeatedly engage with their children in loving and nurturing ways by making them feel safe and secure. 1,2  Attachment is about parents showing up for their children. A strong relationship forms when parents offer their loving arms during times of joy and challenge. In other words, a secure attachment relationship develops when parents hit pause on the world and show their children that they have their undivided presence. For a moment in time, nothing else matters to a parent except for expressing their love to their child.3

As you ponder this definition of secure attachments, Great Kids® encourages you to embrace the everyday moments of home visits. It’s okay to sit back and watch a parent-child activity consume a visit or invite a parent to keep practicing a Daily Do even if it takes longer than you anticipated. Remember, these everyday interactions are more than beautiful moments. They’re an opportunity for parents to grow secure attachments with their children, which lead to future adults who feel safe, secure, and ready to conquer life’s challenges.1,2,3 

References

1. Government of the Province of British Columbia. (2019). Baby’s best chance: Parents handbook of pregnancy and baby care. HealthLinkBC. https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/pregnancy-parenting/babys-best-chance

2. Parlakian, R., & Lerner, C. [Zero To Three]. (2015). Responsive care: Nurturing a strong attachment through everyday moments [Video]. Vimeo. https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/230-responsive-care-nurturing-a-strong-attachment-through-everyday-moments

3. Siegel, D. J., & Bryson, T. P. (2021). The power of showing up: How parental presence shapes who our kids become and how their brains get wired. Ballantine Books.

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