Parent-Infant Interaction and Attachment Workshops

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Originally developed for the Univerisity of Wisconsin-Extension for Family Visitors, these seminars are useful for any professional working with postpartum families through the child’s first year.

Workshop format: Each of these workshops is five and half hours of instructional time. Topics can be added, deleted or combined to meet your needs. Much of the material can be made appropriate for parents.


Parent-Infant Interaction: The Foundation of the Attachment Relationship

In this workshop, participants will learn the nuts and bolts of parent-infant interaction, focusing on the specifics of infant characteristics and parental communication strategies. This workshop focuses primarily on the early infant period from labor and birth through the first five months.

Objectives: After taking this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Describe how the infant contributes to and influences the parenting relationship
  • Review infant states and temperaments
  • Recognize a wide range of communication signals between infant and parent
  • Deepen their understanding of their role as a guide for parents during infancy
  • Learn strategies to help parents empathize and respond more sensitively to their baby
  • Outline how appropriate responses by parents leads to an effective attachment relationship
  • Examine how the beginnings of attachment are rooted in parent-infant interactions and communications

Topics covered include: Attachment and bonding; parental sensitivity; the importance of rhythm and ritual of daily life; infant sleep patterns; different perspectives and support for handling infant crying; understanding infant state; a detailed examination of subtle and overt infant cues; infant temperament; feedings; developing key abilities in parents.

Length: Five and half hours classroom time, not including breaks (6.5 ceus).


Parent-Infant Interaction, Part II: Enhancing Positive Attachment and Understanding The Family

PII-Part II builds on the foundation knowledge of the importance of interactions as the basis for successful relationships and positive attachment. It extends that knowledge from to cover other influences on the parent infant relationship during the entire first year.

Objectives: After taking this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Enhance the positive interactions of parents that lead to a secure attachment relationship
  • Assist parents to empathize and cognitively understand their baby’s developmental needs
  • Outline specific strategies to help parents cope with challenging infant/child behavior
  • Examine the lifelong impact of the infant’s first year, especially on emotional development
  • Learn strategies to help parents empathize and respond more sensitively to their baby
  • Gain familiarity with techniques to help parents understand their own childhood experiences and consciously make decisions about how they want to parent
  • Increase awareness of sleeping arrangements, birth experiences, lifestyle choices, extended family and cultural differences and their implications for parent-infant interaction

Topics covered include: Attachment theory; giving birth and being born; insightfulness and sensitive parenting; parenting styles; baby’s temperament and parenting challenges; postpartum depression; co-sleeping and separate sleeping, helping families find out what’s right for them; swaddling, 5 S’s and Happiest baby principles; realistic expectations of baby; viewing baby as a separate person; infant massage as a strategy to increase sensitivity; and the importance of the parents experience of being parented. The relevance of the topics to the participants really depends on the population they are supporting and other resources available in the community, as well as the participants training and background.

Length: Five and half hours classroom time, not including breaks (6.5 ceus).

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