Attachment theory suggests that early experiences with caregivers influence an individual’s ability to form and maintain healthy relationships throughout life. Nurses working with parents to promote healthy attachment would aim to foster behaviors that promote a secure, trusting relationship between the parent and child. One key behavior that nurses would attempt to stimulate is responsive parenting. According to Bell et al. (2018), his means that the caregiver is attuned to the infant’s needs and responds promptly and appropriately to their cues. Nurses might encourage parents to practice “serve and return” interactions, where the parent responds to the infant’s coos or gestures with verbal or physical cues of their own. This helps the infant learn that their needs will be met, and that they can trust their caregiver to provide for them.
Another behavior that nurses would aim to stimulate is consistent caregiving. Infants thrive on routine and predictability, and consistent care from a primary caregiver helps to build a sense of security and trust. Nurses might work with parents to establish a consistent routine for feeding, sleeping, and playtime, and to develop strategies for managing transitions or changes in the child’s environment.
Nurses would also aim to promote positive affective communication between parent and child. This means that the caregiver communicates warmth, affection, and positive emotions to the infant through their tone of voice, facial expressions, and touch. Nurses might encourage parents to use baby talk or sing to their infant, to make eye contact and smile frequently, and to engage in gentle physical touch such as cuddling or baby massage. These behaviors help the infant feel loved and valued and build a sense of connection and trust with their caregiver. Finally, nurses would work with parents to promote a secure attachment style, which involves a balance of independence and dependence (Hardy, 2017). This means that the infant feels secure exploring their environment and interacting with others, while also feeling confident that their caregiver will be there to provide support and comfort when needed. Nurses might encourage parents to provide opportunities for their infant to explore and learn, while also being available to provide comfort and reassurance as needed.
Overall, nurses working with parents to promote healthy attachment would focus on fostering responsive, consistent, positive, and secure caregiving behaviors that help infants feel safe, loved, and valued (Olds, 2019). By promoting these behaviors, nurses can help parents lay the foundation for a healthy and secure attachment relationship with their child, which can have lifelong benefits for the child’s emotional and social development.
200 words and ONE scholarly reference