Parenting Guide

Parenting Guide

Synchrony: An Essential Building Block of Attachment

Synchrony is the process through which the parent’s physical and mental systems become coordinated with those of the infant. It is like learning to dance with your child. In the beginning, the parent adapts to the infant’s states through repeated closely matched exchanges that include affectionate touch, eye contact, special words, songs, and vocalizations, as well as warm and positive facial expressions. Synchrony continues to develop as you and your child become familiar with each other’s signals and rhythms. By carefully tuning in to your child’s signals, you will gradually learn how to respond sensitively to her cues.

Here are a few suggestions to remember in your daily interactions:

• Wait for her responses during your back-and-forth exchanges.

• Respond appropriately when she turns her face toward or away from you. She may be trying to signal connection or stimulation overload.

• Allow your child to lead in play; this supports her interest and learning.

These synchronized exchanges between you and your child are fundamental to the successful wiring of her social and emotional brain. As your child gets older, these interactions become more reciprocal, and the attachment bond between you grows. Building healthy bonds builds healthy brains.

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