Social & Emotional Development
Developing Trust & Emotional Security

Babies who experience stable, consistent, sensitive and responsive care from their primary caregivers develop secure attachment relationships.

These relationships provide a secure emotional base for infants to explore their world, supporting their cognitive and emotional development, well-being, and social competence.
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  1. Ahnert, L., Pinquart, M., & Lamb, M. E. (2006). Security of children’s relationships with nonparental care providers: A meta-analysis. Child Development, 77, 664–679.

  2. Van IJzendoorn, M., Vereijken, C., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M., & Riksen-Walraven, J. (2004). Assessing attachment security with the Attachment Q-sort: Meta analytic evidence for the validity of the observer AQS. Child Development, 75, 1188-1213. doi: 10.1111/j.14678624.2004.00733.x.

Having consistent caregivers is crucial in helping a baby develop strong attachments. A stable network of adults (including infant


Educarers - Educarers facilitate learning and development of children aged birth to three. Educarers accommodate and respond to the needs of young children, by providing a secure environment and implementing a developmentally and culturally appropriate curriculum through respectful, responsive, and reciprocal interactions. Educarers promote trusting and respectful relationships with young children.1

1. ECDA. (2013). Early years development framework for child care centres. (2013). Singapore: Early Childhood Development Agency.

) with consistent caregiving methods can provide responsive care to help the child form
secure attachments

Secure Attachment - The infants use the parent as a secure base. When separated, they may or may not cry, but if they do, it is because the parent is absent, and they prefer her to the stranger. When the parent returns, they actively seek contact, and their crying is reduced immediately.1

1. Berk, L. E. (2013). Child development (9th ed.). New Jersey, USA: Pearson Education.

. Giving the child and caregiver time to get to know one another helps them to read and respond to each other’s cues.
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  1. Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University (2016). From Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts: A Science-Based Approach to Building a More Promising Future for Young Children and Families. Retrieved from

  2. Chan, Q.R., Lim, R., Yap, G., Elliot, J.M., Tan, S.H., Shu, M., Khoo, P.C. (2010). The infancy study: the impact of caregiving arrangements on early childhood development. Research Monograph No 12, Singapore Children’s Society.

  3. Goossens, F., & Van IJzendoorn, M. (1990). Quality of Infants' Attachments to Professional Caregivers: Relation to Infant-Parent Attachment and Day-Care Characteristics. Child Development, 61(3), 832-837. doi:10.2307/1130967.

In the absence of a caregiver, transition objects sometimes help the child alleviate anxiety if the items are associated with the caregiver to whom the child is securely attached.

In one study of children above three years old, researchers examined the use of security blankets during a paediatric examination.
  1. Ybarra, G. J., Passman, R. H., & Eisenberg, C. S. (2000). The Presence of Security Blankets or Mothers (or Both) Affects Distress During Paediatric Examinations; Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 322-330.
Children accompanied by a caregiver during the examination were less distressed than when they had a security blanket with them during the examination. However, these findings are inconclusive as some cultures which have consistent caregivers present did not use comfort objects with children.

A study conducted by Hong & Townes (1976) found that around 50% of American children and approximately 20% of Korean children developed an attachment to a blanket or an equivalent type of primary transitional object. The research concluded that cultural differences in child-rearing practices influence both the incidence of infants’ attachment to inanimate objects and perhaps the choice of attachment objects.

When the child is in secure attachment with the caregiver, a security object is secondary. However, it can prove useful during transition when the child is going to another caregiver before attachment relationship is established.