The main predictor of how well a child will do in school is the strength of the relationship they have as infants with their primary caretaker. This relationship also impacts a child's future mental, physical, social, and emotional health. It is not founded on quality of care or parental love, but rather on the strength of the nonverbal emotional connection between infant and parent known as the attachment bond.
The groundbreaking 2000 study, From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development identified how crucial the attachment bond is to a child’s development. It affects aspects of how a child will develop mentally, physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially. While attachment occurs naturally as you, the parent or caretaker, care for your baby’s needs, the quality of the attachment bond varies.
- A secure attachment bond ensures that your infant will feel safe and be calm enough to experience optimal development of their nervous system. Your infant's brain organizes itself and provides your baby with the best foundation for life: eagerness to learn, healthy self-awareness, trust, and empathy.
- An insecure attachment bond fails to meet your infant’s need for safety, understanding, and calm, preventing the infant’s developing brain from organizing itself in the best ways. This can inhibit emotional, mental, and even physical development and lead to difficulties in learning and forming relationships in later life.
Ensuring that the attachment bond between you and your baby is a secure one, giving your child the best start in life, does not require being a perfect parent. In fact, the 2000 study found that the critical aspect of the child-primary caretaker relationship is NOT based on quality of care, educational input, or even the bond of love that develops between parent and infant. Rather, it is based on the strength of the nonverbal emotional exchange that occurs between an infant and the adult who spends the most time taking care of him or her. Read more...