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What is attunement?

See what attuned interactions look like between carers and their young babies.

Good for looking at

  • Sensitive interactions
  • Picking up on babies cues
  • Responding to baby
  • Developing trusting relationship

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Transcript of video – What is attunement?

Mothers usually respond almost without thinking, syncronising their response to the babies’ signals. Leila flaps her hands excitedly and Jess responds. Leila makes a noise and Jess acknowledges it, as if to say ‘I know what you mean’. Leila grizzles and is unhappy and Jess empathizes straight away.

‘A skill sensitive responsive parents have is something that you call ‘mind mindedness’ or mindfulness. Some people call it reflective function, and what it is, it’s essentially the ability to put your self into the babies head and work out ‘what is he thinking?’ ‘what is he saying? ‘ and so on. Often there are two kinds of signals, one is calm me down, comfort me, soothe me. If I’m distressed I don’t care what you need to do, whether you need to change me, whether you need to feed me, whether you need to burp me but please do it and do it as quickly as you can because I’m dying here, is in a sense what the baby is saying. And once the baby is calm and alert and not sleepy and wanting to nod off, but ready to interact, that’s what the baby’s saying, ‘play with me’, you know, I want you to imitate me. I want you to stick your tongue out if I stick my tongue out at you. And if I say (blows rasberry) I want you to say (blows raberry) as well. And if you do, as a parent the babies love it, they absolutely love it.’