Attachment and Play

Attachment ~ it is an innate need of the child which we so often fail to look at. Babies are predisposed to attach with their mothers right from birth. John Bowlby, a well-known British Psychoanalyst as a well-child psychologist gave the “Attachment theory”. His theory “emphasizes the importance of a secure and trusting mother-infant bond on the development and well-being” (Bowlby). Bowlby describes attachment as “a long-lasting psychological connection with a meaningful person that causes pleasure while interacting and soothes in times of stress.” (Mcleod)

Attachment is something which goes beyond merely meeting or fulfilling the basic needs of the child such as those of feeding the baby and bathing the baby. Attachment works towards creating a safe space and a kind of bond between the mother and the baby where the baby feels comfortable in times of stress. Attachment plays a key role in every aspect of a child’s development.

Attachment can often be mistaken to be the same as bonding however, there is a subtle difference.  Bonding is from the mother to the baby whereas attachment can be seen as more of a two-way street.

Play helps with the physical and mental development of the child and can also facilitate attachment. Play encourages a hands-on approach by the mother. There is also the idea of “good quality play” which involves an active role by both, the mother as well as the baby. The mother and child interact in new and interesting ways during play. The child’s need for social interaction is fulfilled through this. Through play, there can be a creation of safe space between the mother and the child which is an important factor for attachment.

“Attachment Play” is a special kind of play which strengthens connections and is interactive. It involves laughter and can be initiated by both the mother as well as the baby. It is not restricted by time and neither does it have any set of rules. One must, however, be attentive to the needs of the child and be responsive to the child.

Works cited
Mcleod, Saul. “Bowlby's Attachment Theory.” John Bowlby | Maternal Deprivation Theory |
Simply Psychology, 1 Jan. 1970,

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