How healthy parent-child attachment relationships improve well-being

February 20, 2024

Join our webinar to see why the Make the Connection program is an important investment for parents' mental health

By Dr. Nicole Racine

The first three years of a child’s life are crucial for setting the foundation for positive development. Studies indicate that these early years serve as the building blocks for emotional and behavioural regulation in children. Additionally, the parent-child relationship is the engine of development and provides the context for a child to learn and develop. That’s why I’m so excited to let you know about the Make the Connection online program, which supports parent-child relationships. Register for our free webinar below to find out how to access this program.  

Register now for our Make the Connection webinar on February 26 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. EST

Filling the gap: Supporting parent-child interaction through education

As an Assistant Professor, Clinical Psychologist, and Research Chair in Child and Youth Mental Health at the University of Ottawa and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, I have seen first-hand how positive parenting practices are central to fostering optimal development. I hope all children can benefit from a loving and supportive relationship with their caregivers. 

Despite the importance of a healthy parent-child relationship, many parents have little to no guidance on how to form and maintain loving bonds with their infants. Recognizing this gap, parenting programs have effectively educated and supported caregivers in creating strong parent-child relationships.  

Strong Minds Strong Kids Psychology Canada (SMSKPC) has been at the forefront, successfully delivering the in-person parenting program Make the Connection over the past two decades. Make the Connection educates caregivers on infant cues to enhance caregiver attitudes and promote positive parenting practices.  

Meeting caregivers where they are: Mental health support at home

In response to the evolving landscape, SMSKPC recently introduced an online adaptation of the Make the Connection program. This move is geared towards increasing accessibility by eliminating the obstacles associated with traditional in-person programs.  

The online Make the Connection parenting program offers caregivers the knowledge to build a secure relationship with their infant, all from the comfort of their homes. Currently, the effectiveness of this new online modality is being evaluated by my research team, the Early Lab, at the University of Ottawa.  

"Make the Connection has changed how I think about and interact with my baby, and I think she’s loving it! I’ve told everyone at my mom and baby play centre about it. This is amazing information." - Rachel

Parental mental health support and early childhood  

As a parent of two young children, I know parenting isn’t always easy and doesn’t come with a manual. The Make the Connection program provides parents with evidence-based, easily accessible, and tangible strategies that can help bolster the bond with a young child.  

I have recommended this program to countless parents who have found it informative and useful. I’m pleased that GreenShield and SMSKPC have partnered to provide parents free access to the Make the Connection program.

Working together to support caregiver mental health and child development

With GreenShield’s support, SMSKPC can positively impact the lives of more families by sharing knowledge about the role parents play in their child’s development and how attachment-based parenting helps improve mental health outcomes. Parents can now access Make the Connection at no cost by visiting the website and entering the coupon code MTCGS when they add the program to their cart.   

To celebrate this partnership, GreenShield and SMSKPC are hosting a webinar on February 26, 2024 from 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. EST where we’ll share more about the program and how we’re working together to expand access to Make the Connection for caregivers across Canada.  

 Register for the webinar now

Start your journey to better mental health

Everyone needs support at one time or another, which is why accessible and effective therapy matters. GreenShield Cares is here to help connect people to the therapy that’s right for them. 

When you sign up for GreenShield Cares’ Women’s Mental Health program, you’ll receive free culturally-sensitive, trauma-informed virtual therapy and a complimentary one-year subscription to internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Digital CBT).  

Our personalized therapist matching tool prioritizes intersectionality, acknowledging the various factors influencing individuals' well-being. With 50+ selection options, such as culture, race/ethnicity, language, gender, sexuality, and religion, you can connect with a registered therapist who understands and relates to your identity and lived experiences.  

Book your free therapy today


This article contains guidelines or advice not intended to self-diagnose or treat. No content should be used as a substitute for direct advice from a qualified professional such as your doctor or mental health professional. Please reach out for support from a certified professional related to the symptoms you may be experiencing. 

If you or someone you know is in crisis and requires immediate support, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

Alternatively, please call or text 9-8-8. Through the 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline, help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Or call Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566. For residents of Québec, call 1-866 APPELLE (1-866-277-3553).  

Please know you are not alone. Support is available.