Expert Articles

Enhancing Infants’ and Toddlers’ Sense of Security through Parent-Child Communication

Author: Miss Yuen Wai Kam
Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council
Love Children: Social Work Service in Preschool Units, Stationed at SKH St. Thomas’ Child Care Centre

Infants' and Toddlers' Sense of Security

According to attachment theory, infants and toddlers learn how to communicate and interact with others and their environment through contact and interaction with their parents. When they successfully develop a sense of security, they are willing to explore the world, thereby cultivating problem-solving abilities, self-confidence, and interpersonal relationships.

Principles for Establishing Infants' and Toddlers' Sense of Security:
  • Timely and appropriate response to infants’ and toddlers’ needs.
  • Make infants and toddlers feel loved and understood, knowing that caregivers will accompany and protect them no matter what happens.
  • Establish high-quality parent-child interaction opportunities.
  • Parent-child activities: parent-child games, singing, parent-child reading.
  • Physical contact: hugs, holding hands, patting heads, kissing, and massages.
Quality parent-child time

Infants and toddlers need their parents’ attention to establish a sense of security. However, parents may find it difficult to find time to interact with their children due to work or household chores. What can be done? We can focus on “quality parent-child time.”

“Quality parent-child time” helps establish a good parent-child relationship, enhances infants’ and toddlers’ trust in their parents, and maximizes the effectiveness of discipline.”

The time does not have to be long; occasionally give infants and toddlers attention.

For example, parents can hug their infants and toddlers when they come home from work.

For example, parents can play with their infants and toddlers for 10 minutes with toys, describing their play process at appropriate times.

When infants and toddlers need their parents, they should respond as much as possible.

For example, when parents are hanging clothes and the infants and toddlers lift up a toy car, parents can say, “Yes, this is a toy car. XX (infant or toddler’s name) can play with it by themselves. You are so good!”

Be fully engaged when spending time together.

Infants’ and toddlers’ ways of playing may sometimes be limited or repetitive, and parents should patiently cooperate with or guide them to create other ways of playing.

Parent-child communication

The language development of children under 3 years old is not yet mature, making it difficult for them to express their thoughts and feelings in words. If parents only focus on giving instructions to infants and toddlers and neglect their interests, they may not understand or pay attention. Therefore, parents need to strengthen two-way communication with infants and toddlers.

Parent-child communication skills

With more communication between parents and infants and toddlers, it becomes easier to understand their emotions and gradually cultivate trust and understanding between each other. This enables infants and toddlers to explore the environment and interact with others more effectively, promoting cognitive and interpersonal growth and development.

  • Let infants and toddlers take the lead.
  • Follow the infants’ and toddlers’ interests, and they will be more willing to communicate with you.
  • Face-to-face with infants and toddlers, parents can squat down or sit on the ground to match their height.


  • Talk about things in front of them.
  • Use what is available and simply describe the names, uses, or characteristics of actions or objects.
  • For example, when infants and toddlers look at flowers, parents can guide them to say, “Here is a red flower.”
  • Repeatedly mentioning things can strengthen infants’ and toddlers’ language and cognitive development.
  • Parents can use exaggerated facial expressions and gestures to enhance infants’ and toddlers’ interest.


  • Observe infants’ and toddlers’ reactions and imitate or respond to them.
  • When infants and toddlers make sounds or use facial expressions or gestures to indicate something, imitate them or guess what they want to express and respond accordingly.


  • Stay calm.
  • When infants and toddlers feel that their parents don’t understand them, they may become anxious and throw tantrums. Parents should remain calm, try to guess the infants’ and toddlers’ intentions, and respond accordingly.
  • If unsuccessful and the infants and toddlers continue to have tantrums, try to calm them down and divert their attention.


  • Give praise often.
  • When infants and toddlers are willing to express their thoughts and feelings calmly, provide appropriate praise.
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Enhancing Infants' and Toddlers' Sense of Security through Parent-Child Communication