What really sets the stage for Heart-Mind well-being in children is the ability to feel secure and calm: to take part in daily activities and approach new situations without being overwhelmed with worries, sadness or anxiety. To feel secure, children need warm, responsive adults in their lives. These relationships provide them with a secure base from which they can be bold in their explorations, connect with others and take risks. And within these caring relationships are opportunities for helping children calm down so they eventually develop skills to calm themselves down.
This video showcases the benefits of reading books with children to build secure adult-child connections that help children feel calm and secure and promote the development of emotional literacy. A mother and her 2-year-old daughter read stories together and talk about how the characters in the books are feeling. The child is then invited to explore her own feelings within the context of the story and the safety of the parent child relationship. The child’s parents reflect on how sharing a book together enables them to be fully present with their child while also enjoyably helping their child explore and learn about her own and other’s emotional states.
Emotional Intelligence and Child Development Specialist, Angela Low, explains why reading can be such a useful tool for parents to encourage secure attachment and help children calm down and feel secure. Children need support in learning about their emotions and books can help them learn new words to describe the array of emotions they experience. Being able to correctly identify and label how we are feeling has a soothing impact on our brains and helps us to calm down. Learn more about the science from Daniel Siegel.
This video illustrates how reading books with children, while simple and practical, is a powerful and fun tool that can be easily used at home or in a child care setting to help children feel secure and calm, build secure attachments with adults, and become more emotionally literate.
Attachment theory was founded by British researcher John Bowlby in the 1960's. He collaborated with Mary Ainsworth who identified different attachment "styles" including:
- secure attachment
- avoidant attachment
- anxious/ambivalent attachment
- disorganized attachment