When it comes to helping infants develop secure attachments, it all goes back to providing responsive care. Properly decoding an infant’s signals, for example distinguishing between a child’s cry of pain and cry of hunger, allows a nanny to meet the infant’s need which fosters the development of a secure attachment.
Strategies nannies can use to build secure attachments with the children in their care, according to the NAEYC Study Guide Creating Healthy Attachments to the Babies in Your Care, include observing and understanding the infant’s unique preferences, being consistent and responsive, encouraging laughter and caring for yourself.
To help foster secure parent/child attachments, nannies can encourage parents to spend uninterrupted playtime with their children and to help parents feel like they are the most important people in their baby’s world. One way nannies can do that is by pointing out that the baby saves her best smiles for mom and dad.
Responsive care not only includes meeting an infant’s needs, but includes touching and holding the infant frequently, responding to the infant with sensitivity and providing comfort to the infant. It also includes exhibiting prosocial behaviors or behaviors that guides a child in positive social development. Types of proscocial behavior can include sharing behaviors, helping behaviors and cooperative behaviors. When a nanny is prosocial, she includes the child in her routine by asking for age-appropriate assistance, encourages the development of self-care skills, demonstrates caring behaviors and helps a child learn to label his feelings. Nannies can also provide opportunities for children to play with other children, make choices and encounter consequences, figure out how to enter play situations with others and negate social conflict using their words. When nannies provide children with these opportunities, it will help them to develop prosocial skills and behaviors.