A child's early experiences of being nurtured and developing a bond with a caring adult affects all aspects of behavior and development. When parents and children have strong, warm feelings for one another, children develop trust that their parents will provide what they need to thrive, including love, acceptance, positive guidance, and protection.
Research shows that babies who receive affection and nurturing from their parents have the best chance of healthy development. A child's relationship with a consistent, caring adult in the early years is associated later in life with better academic grades, healthier behaviors, more positive peer interactions, and an increased ability to cope with stress.
API’s Eight Principles of Parenting
Attachment Parenting International
Outlines eight ways in which parents can form healthy emotional bonds with their children. The website also includes information on helping adopted children form attachments.
Building a Secure Attachment With Your Child
Penn State Extension
Presents the benefits of healthy attachment and provides practical steps that parents can take to create that bond, notably flexibly responding to a child’s needs.
Essentials for Childhood: Creating Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships and Environments for All Children (PDF - 24,945 KB)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Violence Prevention (2019)
Describes a framework to guide community activities to help build safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments for children and families. The guide outlines four main goals: to raise awareness and commitment to promoting safe, stable, and nurturing relationships; to use data to inform actions; to create the context for healthy children through norms change and program creation; and to create the context for healthy children through policy change.
Evidence-Based Parenting Interventions to Promote Secure Attachment
Wright & Edginton (2016)
Global Pediatric Health, 3
Summarizes findings from several scientific articles detailing the most effective interventions that parents can implement to support the development of healthy attachment patterns in their children.
Helping Caregivers Foster Secure Attachment in Young Children
Social Work Today, 17(4)
Describes an intervention designed to help parents better identify behaviors that may contribute to insecure attachment and increase the quantity and quality of nurturing behaviors.
How to Raise a Securely Attached Child
Discusses how to build a secure attachment style with a child and reviews tips for raising a securely attached child.
Interventions for Attachment and Traumatic Stress Issues in Young Children
West-Olantunji, Wolfgang, & Frazier (2019)
Highlights key deficiencies in services delivery for treating attachment and trauma-related symptoms in young children in a developmental context.
Nurturing and Attachment (PDF - 35 KB)
Indiana Department of Child Services (2021)
Provides service providers with a series of questions to determine levels of nurturing and attachment in the parent-child relationship, as well as signs of a securely attached relationship.
Nurturing Infants to Prevent Attachment Disorder
Attachment Disorder Network
Describes attachment disorder and provides tips for parents on how to nurture children in healthy way to prevent attachment disorder.
Responsive Care: Nurturing a Strong Attachment Through Everyday Moments
ZERO TO THREE (2016)
Showcases a video on responsive care, the process of watching and tuning into a child's cues and responding in a sensitive way in order to nurture and build attachment with the child.