Teaching children with insecure attachment

General teaching principles

The following guidelines may be beneficial to support children with potential insecure attachment patterns.

  • Feeling safer if they know what to expect

Always warn in advance of any changes; such as changes of staff or school visits. Time to get used to new things and people is often important. Also, simple reminders of regular changes such as “break is in 10 minutes”.

  • Difficulty remembering things

Ensure that parents/carers are aware of timetables so they can help the child to remember specific items such as PE kit

  • Safe haven

Make sure that when the child needs time their own there is a safe way of communicating this, and a safe place to go

  • Coping with strong emotions

Explain that emotions like anger are not ‘bad’ as long as we make sure we don’t hurt ourselves or others

  • Social conventions

Making eye contact can be very difficult. Don’t insist on asking children to do this. Just because they won’t make eye contact doesn’t mean they’re not listening.

  • Communication styles

If a child is finding it hard to explain their feelings/behaviour, consider different approaches such as drawing, art, music.

  • Behaviour as communication

When ‘misbehaving’ the child is communicating how they feel. Always stick to plans you have made with the child – this consistency will help them through difficult times.

The child will appreciate you being there and trying to make things easier for them even if their behaviour doesn’t communicate this.

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