A new mother slowly rocks her baby to sleep. A new father spends the afternoon laying on the ground playing with his child, both of them giggling. A mother spends a few extra few moments during mealtime to talk to her baby. More than ever, scientists now understand the significance of these moments.
The importance of the attachment between infants and caregivers has been studied for centuries, and most experts now agree that a child’s emotional development is dependent in large part on the quality of their relationships in the first years of life. The basic theory of attachment asserts that parents and caregivers who are available and responsive to their infant’s needs will foster an early sense of security in their child, and through these parent-child connections infants will develop a willingness and confidence to explore their environments independently. By creating a strong foundation of love and security, attachment fosters emotional development and determines the quality of future social relationships.
Promoting national awareness and action around the link between early childhood attachment and mental health is the goal of a two-year campaign spearheaded byinvestor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen.Anchored by a successful PBS documentary series that premiered in January 2010, This Emotional Life is a multi-media outreach campaign to foster awareness, connections and solutions around mental health and emotional well-being, with a special outreach initiative surrounding the issue of early childhood attachment.
This Emotional Life is reaching out to faith communities like yours to spread the word about our attachment campaign and to encourage you to join our efforts.. We believe there is a large role for communities of faith to help us educate new parents about early childhood attachment, and we would like to work with you to share our message.
The centerpiece of the campaign is a toolkit designed to help parents develop the skills necessary for interaction during a child’s first year of life.The primary goals of the toolkit are to increase the awareness among new parents of the importance of early attachment; increase the number of secure attachments in infants and children; decrease the number and possible severity of attachment disorders; and influence the healthy development of children in ways that will have life-long positive effects.
The toolkit features a series of materials that will empower parents to connect with their children:
- A toolkit guide
- A 40-page informational handbook that highlights primary attachment theories and implications, information about an infant’s different cues, and strategies for positively interacting with a baby that help to further develop attachment
- An informative DVD that shows parents/caregivers interacting with babies in a variety of ways
- An informational magnet and bookmark
- A Postpartum Support International Information Guide discussing Postpartum Mood Disorders
This Emotional Life is working Â together with community leaders to help new parents receive the education and support they need to raise healthy children.Â Â We’re pleased to be working together with INCM to build this campaign and are looking to leaders like you to speak with us and determine the most appropriate way to engage your own community.
Please contact Melanie Warady, Outreach Coordinator at Cause and Affect in Los Angeles, CA, at 310-826-0123 or at [email protected] to discuss this program and how to become involved.
For more information on This Emotional Life, please visit our website atwww.pbs.org/thisemotionallife. To sign up for our newsletter and receive ongoing information about our attachment campaign, please go tohttp://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/sign-up-engage