Safety and connection integrate the brain and allow us to access our brilliance. For many parents, providing safety comes naturally. Connection with children, however, is something we sometimes forget to prioritize.

For obvious reasons, providing food and shelter are first on the list of priorities, and we work hard to provide the best material comforts for our children. In the midst of modern life and the demands of the corporate world, we often forget that psychological safety and connection are essential when it comes to building strong relationships and healthy brains. Safety and connection allow children to develop into self-confident individuals who trust their environment and have the self-regulation skills needed to succeed.

How can we connect with our children?

Picture a special moment with loved ones. Imagine looking at each other and feeling the world disappear around you. In this moment, all you can feel is their touch and the joy of a moment where you know you are in sync. These moments of “eye contact, touch, presence and playful situations” are the building blocks of true and everlasting bonds. We produce oxytocin, the hormone associated with social bonding and love, every time we have these moments with our children. Our chemistry literally sends the message that we are connected throughout our body and our brain.

Healthy connection with children serves as the foundation for a positive nursery rhyme and activity concept called “I Love You Rituals.” Dr. Bailey authored the I Love You Rituals book as a resource to help parents and educators understand how to create a moment of true presence, eye contact, human touch and playfulness to help regulate the lower centers of the brain and send the message that we are safe and loved. Once this message is received, we can rest assured that psychological and emotional safety are met. Our brain is connected and ready to learn and take on the challenges of daily life with brilliance.

Take five minutes a day to truly connect with those you love, especially when you or they have made a mistake and it feels like you are miles apart. A simple game of peek- a-boo, hide-and-seek or “Round and Round the Garden” can heal deep emotional wounds. Finding the time for these interactions is well worth it when you think about the long-term positive effects of building strong bonds with your children. Look for great ideas on how to incorporate I Love You Rituals into your daily routine in Dr. Becky Bailey’s book, I Love You Rituals.

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