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Saturday, 16 April 2011

Are you supporting your toddler to develop their 'inner explorer'?

I feel there is value in sharing an anecdotal tale to describe a developing positive toddler/parent attachment relationship. Imagine yourself in your mothering (or fathering) role and your toddler in your local park. A healthily attached toddler will want to go off and develop their 'inner explorer' qualities. A watchful mother will observe her toddler to ensure their safety but will encourage their child in their explorations. A securely attached child will go and explore whilst intermittently looking back towards the mother to seek their presence, availability and encouragement. In opposition an insecurely attached toddler may not feel confident enough to leave the side of their mother. An over anxious primary care-giver may not feel confidence in their toddler and as a result may not wish their toddler to leave their side. This demonstrates the insecure attachment in the primary care-giver and toddler. This will impact negatively upon the toddler and in turn the primary care-giver. The toddler may have a need to be inquisitive, curious and to explore, but as a direct result of the mother's anxiety, the toddler will not be able to leave the side of the mother. This will lead to frustration (in the toddler) which will in turn be presented to the mother. This toddler will develop separation anxiety issues which will be problematic from this point onwards. We are seeking to encourage our little ones to explore their world. We are not seeking to impart and project our own anxieties onto our infants and as a result suppress their 'inner explorer'.

Positive attachment begins in infancy. Your availability and presence are key to providing a 'secure base' from which to explore.

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