A Guide for Families and Caregivers

Building Block 1

Building Trust and Attachment
Key Message
Building trusting relationships with children is one of the most important things parents or caregivers can do to promote children's social and emotional development

Building Trust and Attachment

Building trust is one of the most important things a parent or caregiver can do to promote their child’s social and emotional well-being. Trust means that children know and feel they are loved and cared for, and that someone will always be there for them, no matter what.

Building a trusting relationship involves parents and caregivers:

  • providing a sense of security
  • helping children regulate their energy states and emotions
  • promoting expression of feelings and communication
  • serving as a base for exploration

A trusting relationship is warm, sensitive, and responsive. A trusting relationship says, “I’m here for you when you need me; I will do my best to understand what you need.” A trusting relationship involves paying attention to the ways children communicate their needs or feelings. Reading the cues or signals children give us, and showing we understand, are critical elements in building strong and secure relationships.

A trusting relationship with parents or caregivers gives children the foundation for growing into confident, healthy adults. It is the basis for feeling secure, exploring and learning new things, developing new friendships, and feeling they can deal with setbacks.

When children have a trusting relationship, they can go about their ‘job’ of learning. They don’t need to spend time worrying about whether or not they will be fed, hugged, soothed, and kept safe. They have their parent or caregiver as a ‘secure base.’

There are no perfect parents or caregivers. Striving to do the best we can is what matters. Developing attachment relationships takes time, and we can aim to do our best every day. It is important to remember that it’s never too late to build a trusting relationship with children.

"When I feel safe, I can explore, learn and grow"
Last Modified: 01-Mar-2020