Secure and Calm: Sharing a Book

Secure and Calm Video: Connecting through Books

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 [1]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
  • Secure and Calm

    Secure and calm describes the ability to take part in daily activities and approach new situations without being overwhelmed with worries, sadness or anxiety. To be secure and calm also means being able to cope with stress and pressure, and to bounce back from difficulties.
  • Gets Along with Others

    Getting along with others is the ability to form positive and healthy relationships with peers and adults. Children with better abilities to regulate their emotions and behaviours have more friends and experience more positive playtime with their peers.
  • Alert and Engaged

    Being alert and engaged is the ability to manage and direct one's own feelings, thoughts and emotions. In general, the ability to be 'present' and to exercise self-control.
  • Compassionate and Kind

    Being compassionate and kind is closely related to empathy. While empathy refers more generally to the ability to take the perspective of and to feel the emotions of another person, compassion goes one step further.
  • Solves Problems Peacefully

    Managing conflict effectively is about creating an atmosphere where violence and aggression are not likely. To resolve conflict means using empathy, problem-solving skills, understanding other points of view and coming up with ways to make things right in a fair way.