What is a Secure Base?

What is a Secure Base?

When a child feels connected and secure with their relationship with a parent or caregiver they can do amazing things.

Feels secure??

In recent years, there has been a great deal of emphasis on the importance of a child feeling attached or secure in a relationship with a caring adult and the impact it has on the child’s ability to explore and navigate the world.

So what does it mean to feel secure….

When a child knows that no matter what happens, their mom, dad, or other caregiver is there for them, the child has a sense of security. This security leads to a child having a “secure base”.

I like to describe the secure base as something similar to the foundation of a house. When the foundation is solid you can always rebuild the walls, roof, or re-wire.

The same goes for a secure base in regards to a child. When a child knows that their mom, dad, or other caregiver has their back they are able to try new things, explore their environment, or take risks.

This can also lead to a child unloading unwanted feelings onto their secure base.  

They will check back in with their secure base often.

There are so many examples of this!

The best example I saw just the other day was a little man, that had never seen me before, entered the room with his mom to attend one of my talks. He went and sat by his mom, he would not go out to play with the others. Once he settled in he began to venture away but would run back to her to check-in and then off he would go.


I often hear from people that are getting frustrated that their child is unloading their feelings on them. Once I explain that it is because the child knows that they can be open and honest with their secure base, it often changes their perspective. The frustration can still remain because it can be draining.

One thing you can do to decrease the unloading on you is to set your child up with a few secure bases so their emotional load is reduced if you are not present. Great examples of others that can (and should fill this role) are teachers, school support staff, child care providers, coaches, and friend’s parents.

The first 2 months of school are usually very difficult for our son. He does not feel like he has a secure base until he gets to know his teacher. His teachers are now aware of this and they assist with coming up with a plan of how he can check in with his teacher from the previous year during the first 2 months back to school. This has been a game-changer for us.

Feel free to send me a message if you would like more information about ways you can help your child feel secure.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia