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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET HOW WHAT WE FEEL CREATES WHAT WE KNOW caregiver as a source of comfort and safety (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child 2004b). The Role of Serve-and-Return Interactions in Attachment Serve-and-return interactions are daily exchanges that are the basis of early communication between the baby and parent. Consistent and positive exchanges help to build strong relationships between parents and their chil- dren. A serve-and-return interaction is like a game of tennis. One player serves the ball, hitting it across the net to the other player. The second player then returns the serve, sending the ball back across the net to the first player. Inter- actions between children and caregivers are very similar. For example, a baby might coo or squeal to get her mother’s attention. The mother then returns that interaction by looking at the baby and smiling. The baby might then point to a dog outside the window, and the mother might look at the dog and say, “Oh, look, it’s a dog!” These types of simple back and forth inter- actions tell the baby that the adult is engaged with her and receptive to her needs. It is the build-up of these interactions over time that helps construct an attachment relationship (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child 2004b). When these serve-and-return interactions are largely positive and respon- sive, the result is a solid foundation for secure attachment. The key attri- butes of a positive, or secure, attachment relationship involve the caregiver providing safety and security to the infant. In secure attachments, babies learn that their emotional needs will be met and that their caregivers will provide consistent care and safety—a “safe base” from which they can freely explore the world around them. Babies who exhibit secure attachments to their care­givers are likely to explore their surroundings but will return regu­ larly to their caregivers to “check in.” When they are frightened, securely attached babies will seek comfort from their caregivers, and the caregivers will respond soothingly to help calm them (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine 2000). Research suggests that secure attachments in infancy are linked to a variety of positive health and behavioral outcomes later in life. Children with more secure relationships with caregivers are likely to have increased COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 11