This week I am covering the three most important things every child needs for healthy development. First, a secure attachment and connection to family is essential for healthy brain and emotional development and ultimate success for your child. This bonding begins at birth and is essential for survival; it is so important that a baby will die without it. While we seem to be purposeful about bonding with our infants we must remember to continue to strengthen that family attachment bond as our children grow. They must feel safe and connected with a sense of belonging to their family and/or
extended family. When this strong relationship foundation is in place they are then free to develop mentally, emotionally and physically to their highest potential.
Bonding to technology is not an adequate replacement for bonding with family. For every minute your child is plugged in, he is not bonding to a real person. He is isolated and he is developmentally lonely. The science is clear that more neuronal connections are made with human interaction than with screen interaction. Real face to face relationships are needed for your child’s rich brain development. He does not need to bond with you in an over protective way but you should be purposeful about his connection to the family. Setting a good foundation at home where he is able to communicate openly and often and know that he is loved is much more important than screen time will ever be. While he may think he loves his game (even more than you at times) his game is not real and it does not fill his developmental need for real attachment, nor does it provide the deep roots of family connection.
Think about how well your child is truly attached to your family. How can you improve that bond? A simple daily I love you, a family photo by his bed, family traditions and specific non-tech time for meaningful communication with family (see digital strategy) are great ways to build that strong foundation. Being purposeful around this issue will open your eyes to the many little non tech things that you can do to help your child maintain a healthy family connection. It will benefit him for a lifetime!