Attachment

Most children have functional behaviour but we are experiencing a growing number of children with attachment issues.

Definition

Attachment is the relationship that has been established between a child and their parents/caregivers.

Secure emotional attachments are developed through positive verbal and physical interactions within the first 2 years of the child’s life. It is the child’s emotional bond and sense of safety.

The more secure children are the more they are able to have stronger relationships, handle their emotions, feel happier, content and more confident. They feel secure enough to separate from their parents and are more independent; being able to return to parents for comfort and help.

Poor attachments profoundly affect a child’s development, inhibit normal development of the brain and their ability to express emotions and build relationships.

Approaches Used at Broadmeadow

  • We provide key attachment figures- the time spent with a child is dependent on the severity. This could range from timed sessions to one-one support; gradually reducing the amount of time spent with the child
  • Helping a child to organise and identify their feelings and emotions – acknowledging how the child is feeling
  • Helping a child with new feelings e.g. affection
  • Setting up opportunities for children to know they are being kept in mind e.g. joining them in play or just simply praising them from afar
  • Being aware of trigger times when active intervention is likely to be needed e.g. when a key attachment figure leaves the room
  • Giving positive messages to the children
  • Being aware of transitions and changes in the school day as these can cause huge anxieties- use of schedules, class timetables, staff rota (photographs)
  • Providing transitional objects from home to school
  • Social stories- these help children to cope with a difficult situation
  • Consistency and boundaries- these make the world a more predictable and less scary place
  • Being bigger, stronger, wiser and kind- following the child’s need but taking charge when necessary
  • Always endeavouring to let the child know it is the behaviour that is not liked and not them and be readily available after conflict- reinforcing consistency and love.

These strategies help a child to build positive relationships with staff enabling them to feel safe and secure.