Bonding & Attachment
, Adoption Education and Training
One of the most common things that parents worry about prior to bringing home their adopted child is whether or not their child will attach well and bond to them. One of the things that you can do is prepare some activities which can assist the child with bonding. Attachment-based activities are activities that enhance the attachment between the child and parent. Below is a list of a few attachment activities that have worked best for me when I am trying to bond with my distant nieces and nephews:
- Playful Copycat (or Mirroring the Child): This activity does not necessarily require any physical items or toys. All it takes is having the parent and child both present and ready to interact with each other. The basic idea for this activity is to have the parent playfully copy what the child is doing, such as by having the child begin by clapping his hands together and having the parent clap their hands in the same volume and speed as the child. When the child changes his/her style of clapping (such as louder or softer), the parent should imitate the child. Eye contact, smiles, and laughs are also helpful to promote a healthy relationship and repair or enhance attachment. Mirroring can also be done with other activities, such as jumping, playing with toys, or facial expressions.
- Bean Bag Game: Have the child place a bean bag or another soft toy that is fairly easy to balance on top of his head. Have the parent sit in front of the child and place her hands in front of her. The child is then directed to tip his head forward to try to get the bean bag in the parent’s hands. The child should tip his head when the parent blinks her eyes. (This will promote eye contact.) Have the parent use as much eye contact as possible. Again, it is important for the parent and child to have fun with this activity. Laughter has been found to be healing and can help to repair and enhance a relationship.
- Piggy-Back Rides: Piggy-back rides can help to strengthen parent-child relationships and repair or enhance attachment because they involve fun and physical closeness. When children are babies, they need plenty of physical contact with their parents. Babies thrive not only from being fe
d and kept physically safe, but also from feeling the comfort and security of having their parent close to them.
- Read Together: Get a library card and make it a point to go to the library often to ensure you have a constant supply of books at home. Set aside a few minutes each day as family reading time – where you read to your kids (if they are younger), the children read to you, or the kids read by themselves while you catch up on some of your own books. Here are a few handy book lists to give you some ideas regarding what to checkout while at the library or while ordering books as gifts; The New York Times Best Sellers List(all categories), Amazon Best Sellers – parenting & relationshipsand most wished for self-help books, Amazon children’s bookshelf, and 50 Inspiring Children’s Books with a Positive Message– a great list put together by the folks at positivelypositive.com.
Regardless of the activity you choose, promoting bonding and attachment with your adopted child is an important way to make your adoption successful and rewarding.
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MLJ Adoptions is a Hague Accredited International Adoption Agency based in Indianapolis, Indiana. We provide ethical, compassionate and attentive adoption services to loving and committed families from across the United States and around the world.
We’ve successfully placed over two hundred and fifty children through our international adoption programs in Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Samoa and Ukraine. MLJ Adoptions believes that every child deserves a loving and permanent family including older children and children with special needs. We also facilitate an Orphan Hosting Program from Ukraine each winter and summer for several weeks.
Our Special Needs Program connects these children with loving adoptive families willing to meet the needs of these special children. We focus on preparing parents by providing education and direct support to ensure that children are placed with families who are equipped and empowered to parent their child successfully. We continue to provide services after placement to ensure that our families are encouraged and supported before, during and after placement.