Vacancy Care's February Newsletter

February 2023


Hello everyone, welcome to our February newsletter! As always, we provide an overview of what is happening within our childcare community. This month we will focus on attachments styles on children.

Topic of the month - Attachment styles in children

It’s the month where relationships, its quality and how we form them take centre stage. And they say how we form relationships in childhood becomes the blueprint for our relationships in adulthood. Thus, it’s important for parents, early childhood educators and primary caregivers to effectively recognise and understand the differing attachment styles children in their care may have and how surrounding adults can become better attachment figures. 

Attachment Theory by Bowlby

When Dr. John Bowlby formulated the attachment theory in 1960, it gave the world a way to understand how we relate to others. However, one must not think one type of attachment is better than another or that if one shows a less favourable attachment type, it means their ability to form secure, happy relationships in the future will be derailed. Attachments, whether it be secure or insecure, are a coping mechanism we teach ourselves in order to adapt to our environment. 

Mary Ainsworth expanded further on Bowlby’s work by demonstrating how attachment styles affect an infant’s reaction and interaction with a stranger following a parent’s departure.  

An individual’s attachment style is formed early in childhood based on the quality of relationship and bond one forms with a parent or primary caregiver, which includes early childhood educators.

And as adults, we become responsible for providing children in our care the best attachment figures they can rely on to minimise the need for children to develop maladaptive coping mechanisms to fix how they relate to others and the world. 

Attachment Styles


These are the children who become upset when left by a parent at their centre and seek to be comforted by the parent when the parent returns. Parents are responsive to their children’s needs and lead the child to believe that the parent will always be there whenever they need their attachment figure.

Anxious-resistant or Ambivalent

These are the children who also become upset when left by their parents, become extremely distressed while being left, and act out or throw tantrums when the attachment figure, usually a parent, returns. They want to both be comforted by the parent while also seeking to punish the parent who left them. Parents of these children may not be as responsive to their children’s needs. 


Whereas anxious-resistant are more prone to tantrums and exaggerating their emotional responses when an attachment figure returns, children with an anxious-avoidant attachment style prefer to keep their emotions hidden and display indifference instead. These children don’t seem bothered by drop-offs nor are they elated when their parents pick them up. Sometimes, they even ignore their parents’ presence upon returning, opting to engage with toys or friends. Disengaged parents teach their children to adopt an anxious-avoidant attachment style wherein children know their parent is insensitive to their needs.


This happens when the child has been presented with irregular patterns of behaviour by his parent or primary caregiver. The child becomes conflicted, confused, frightened or apprehensive toward a parent or caregiver. Attachment figures present a Jekyll-and-Hyde emotional environment for their child which shows instability and unpredictability of the attachment figure. This leads children to be confused whether the parent is a source of comfort or fear/punishment. Research has also shown that children with this attachment style are more prone to develop a

An attachment style test can also be administered to a child to know their attachment style directly. 

The Importance of Determining a Child’s Attachment Style

A child’s attachment style influences their way of relating to others and early attachment figures other than their parents such as their early childhood educators and peers. It helps early childhood educators know how to best support a child who has learned to adapt an attachment style that’s not as ideal as the secure attachment style. 

As early childhood educators, they can be a valuable strong attachment figure from which children can learn what a secure attachment figure can be and help children understand how to relate and behave based on positive attachment experiences. 

Another important reason of determining a child’s attachment style is so attachment figures can realise early on the impact of the quality of support and relationship they are providing their child with, rectify it, and reduce the number of adverse childhood experiences (ACES) that have been identified as detrimental not only to their development but also to their behaviour and actions in adulthood.

The Multi-cultural Factor

However, as Australia has become increasingly multicultural, early childhood educators must also take into account how the cultural background of children may affect their attachment style and relational behaviour. For example, Western culture puts emphasis on independence whereas Eastern culture may value interdependence more. Considering a child’s cultural and social background gives more context and insight into an early childhood educator’s assessment and understanding of a child’s attachment style. 

For Early Childhood Educators

As early childhood educators become a necessary and constant source of attachment, they are in a prime position to provide support and a more consistent attachment figure to children in their care. 

How to Cultivate a Secure Attachment Style in Children

As previously mentioned, attachment styles aren’t inherently good or bad. Attachment styles are developed as a result of a child adapting and adjusting to their environment and attachment figures’ response to their emotional needs. As attachment styles are developed in early childhood, early childhood educators are in a prime position to understand what attachment style a child is developing and can start cultivating a secure attachment in its stead. 

  1. Consistent presence when a child needs comfort and support

Early childhood educators can only be present during a certain time and they may care for multiple children at once so it’s understandable you won’t be watching each child like a hawk every single minute. But being present at specific times when a child is calling for support or comfort is key to providing a child a sense of security and consistency provided by an early childhood educator as an attachment figure

  1. Providing freedom for a child to explore

Another key factor in cultivating a secure attachment style in children is giving them breaks from the attachment figure and letting them exercise their relational skills. It gives children a chance to forge their secure attachment by testing the boundaries, learning independence, and further strengthening their confidence. When a child commits a mistake, or needs support and gets it from their attachment figure, it reinforces the child’s secure attachment.

The Takeaway

Since Dr. Bowlby first formulated his attachment theory, expounded by Mary Ainsworth; it has since experienced a resurgence in modern times to explain how modern relationships work. But more than that, parents and caregivers must learn that whatever attachment your child exhibits, it isn’t good or bad. Rather the attachment style is a coping mechanism based on social and emotional cues the child received in their immediate environment. It is then the task of the parent or primary caregiver to foster a safe and secure emotional environment from which a child can reshape their attachment style. 

Learn more about attachment theory and concepts here:

Childcare Development

0-12 month development

How to sleep well at any age – from babies (and their parents) to dog-tired midlifers 

Authors: Joanna Moorhead and Daisy Schofield 

Sleep is the most important and precious thing for both parents and babies in their first few months of life. Parents naturally become light sleepers when they have a baby as they need to easily wake up to cater to a baby’s cries. For parents, power naps are the best way to catch up on much-needed sleep. Meanwhile, it seems the best way to put a baby to sleep is by holding and walking them for five minutes to promote drowsiness and encourage them to sleep. 

Find more about how to sleep well and recharge your brain here.

1-2 year development

Parents talk more to toddlers who talk back 

Author: Duke University 

It’s been a longstanding finding that girls develop their vocabulary and language skills faster than boys because parents talk more with girls than boys. But a study found out that it’s not the case. They found out parents actually talk more to toddlers who respond and talked more. Read more about the study and see how you can boost your child’s language development skills here.

2-3 year development

What’s really going on when a child is ‘overtired’ – and how to help them go to sleep

Author: Helen L. Ball, Durham University 

‘Overtired’ might seem like a misnomer but it accurately describes what a child feels when they feel the pressure to sleep but just cannot do so. As parents and primary caregivers, it is necessary to remove whatever it is that’s preventing a child from falling asleep–whether it may be they’re scared, anxious, frightened, in pain or something else. 

Find out what ‘overtired’ is, how you can spot it, and what you can do to help your child overcome it and eventually fall asleep here.

3-4 year development

What to do when your toddler goes on a food strike

Author: Mariah Maddox

As children grow and learn new food tastes and textures, there will be times they latch on to a particular taste and/or texture profile or even to a single food item. When this happens, your child will suddenly discover a new tool in their negotiating set called ‘food strike’.

Read about how you can best navigate this tricky food strike situation here.

4-5 year development

How Many Hugs a Day Does a Child Need?

Author: Wendy Wisner

What is a hug? It’s a way for children to feel parental warmth and affection. As children grow old, they may suddenly start feeling shy about getting hugs especially in public but there are others who just can’t get enough hugs. 

Read on and find out about the benefits of giving hugs to a child’s development here.

Craft Corner

Inflating Conversation Hearts

Instead of cards, why not send an inflating conversation heart? In this chemistry STEM activity, have children show their appreciation for attachment figures in their life by writing it on a piece of balloon and inflating it using some chemistry magic (i.e. Alka Seltzer tablet in water)!

Find instructions on how to inflate conversation hearts this Valentine’s month here.

Colour-changing Flowers Experiment

What’s Valentine’s Day without flowers? In this activity, give white flowers a burst of colour by triggering their capillary action to absorb coloured water into their flower’s petals. 

Find more chemistry concepts you can infuse into the activity here.

Exploring your Senses with Infused Water

Having a hard time making children drink water? Make it fun and transform them into taste experts as they come up with their favourite infused water flavour. Using their favourite fruits or vegetables, you can start the steeping process before lunch and it’ll be ready by teatime!

Find out more about how to infuse water and lessons into it here.

Make a Fire Snake

Create a fire snake using basic kitchen ingredients like sugar and baking soda. You’ll also need dry sand and lighter fluid or any flammable liquid (like alcohol) to ignite the fire and make the fire snake appear. 

This activity requires an adult to start the fire and must be done in a wide open space with a fire extinguisher nearby.  

Learn how to make a fire snake here.