Little People and Attachment: “Tune In” to Set a Strong Foundation


Dear Nurturer,

I was born with a brain ready for relationship. While my brain can control my breathing, my hunger, and my sleeping and waking at birth, it is relying on YOU, my primary caregiver, to help it truly grow and make lifelong connections. Want to know what I need more than anything else in my earliest years of life? Secure attachment!

When you meet my needs with warmth and sensitivity from the very beginning of my life, the neurons (“wires”) in my brain begin to connect to one another.

The more often you meet my needs, the stronger my brain’s neural connections become.

Through your intentional connection with me each and every day, I will learn to trust you. I will know I can depend on you to meet my many needs. I will then learn to trust others and to have healthy relationships with them. You will give me the best possible foundation for my life!


What Is Secure Attachment?

Attachment is the child’s earliest emotional connection with a parent or caregiver. It is the foundation for all other relationships as the child grows.

Infants are born fully dependent on loving adults in their lives. When these adults meet the baby’s needs daily by giving nourishment, cleanliness, touch, affection, comfort, and joyful experiences, the baby’s brain and body grow healthfully. Development in all areas can flourish!

Think of you and your baby like sides of Velcro:

When two pieces of Velcro line up well and come together, they are strong! Those pieces of hook-and-loop material can keep your child’s shoes and coats tightly closed, your belongings hidden within your bags, and even pictures hung firmly on your walls. When you take the time and effort to pay attention to how the strips align, and to purposely press them together, Velcro does its job of connecting and holding well. It is small but strong! Velcro that is aligned closely can withstand quite a bit of force and strain. The intentional connection makes it secure.

How-To Guide

How is secure attachment formed with my deaf or hard of hearing baby?

Secure attachments are formed when you as the parent or caregiver are consistently responsive to your baby’s needs.  This process of paying attention and adjusting with sensitivity to your baby’s personality and needs is called attunement.

Think of your baby as a radio, and your baby’s unique characteristics as the radio stations.  Your role as the parent is to notice the signals your baby sends, and to adjust yourself–like you would the tuning knob–so the stations can come through as clearly and beautifully as possible.

Your baby, no matter his hearing status, has a personality with preferences and limits. Many of these characteristics are part of your baby’s temperament, the unique design with which your child was born.  Some traits will change as your baby grows and matures; others will remain constant throughout your child’s life.

You have the privilege from the earliest days of your child’s life to learn about the special person she is, and to love your baby well!

Look closely at all the details.

Notice all those “radio stations” that have been hardwired into your unique child.
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Work to understand your baby’s needs.

Patiently adjust the "tuning knob."
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Do your best to meet baby’s needs often.

Keep making small adjustments until you and your child are dancing together in a smooth rhythm of connection.
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Have intentional together time daily.

Focused time with your child builds "brain architecture."
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Repair when you mess up.

Spoiler Alert: You will mess up. You are a human.
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Play, play, then play some more!

"Play is the work of the child." --Maria Montessori
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Pay attention to earliest communication.

Communication starts immediately.
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Just be present in the present.

Your presence is a big deal.
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How does secure attachment give my DHH child lifelong benefits?

We all know that whether you are building a block tower, a house, or a skyscraper, a strong foundation is the only way to begin.

By intentionally using strategies of attunement, you ensure secure attachment. Ultimately, you strengthen your child’s brain development. The following video gives a great explanation of exactly how this building process occurs.

Watch Video >

The benefits of secure attachment are ENORMOUS!

Early Brain Development


  • Foundation for language acquisition
  • Ability to understand and express thoughts, needs, and feelings in healthy ways  
  • Can think deeply and critically about the world and others
  • Capable of making wise choices

Strong Sense of Self


  • Ability to think before acting (“self-regulation”)
  • Confidence in problem-solving abilities
  • Ability to turn to others for help when necessary
  • Sees self as a capable contributor to the world

Healthy Relationships


  • Ability to be kind, thoughtful, and compassionate toward others
  • Tends toward more peaceful, cooperative family relationships
  • Recognizes and trusts healthy people and builds lasting friendships
  • Considerate of the thoughts, needs, and feelings of others

Overall Life Satisfaction


  • Finds meaningful connections in healthy, balanced relationships throughout life
  • Believes good things can and will happen, even when challenges arise
  • Develops a strong work ethic and sense of resiliency

Curious To Learn More?

Check out our additional Relationship Resources for more information on nurturing your child. 

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