The Duchess of Cambridge has paid a previously unannounced visit to the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) – a voluntary home visiting programme for parents aged up to 24.
The royal looked chic as she arrived at Sunshine House Children and Young People’s Health and Development Centre in a pair of black, tailored, cropped trousers and a navy and white £270 polka dot shirt by French label Equipment.
The duchess, 37, chatted to first-time mums who have been helped by the FNP and discovered more about the programme, which helps young mums to have a healthy pregnancy, improve their child’s health and development, and reach their goals and aspirations.
The young mums are partnered with a specially-trained family nurse who visits them regularly, from early pregnancy until their child is two.
The organisation is close to the heart of the royal, who has three young children, Prince George, six, Princess Charlotte, four, and Prince Louis, one, and works extensively in the Early Years sector.
During the engagement, the duchess spoke with experts from the FNP about the scientific theory of attachment.
What is the theory of attachment and attachment parenting?
Attachment parenting was originally devised in the 1950s by psychologist John Bowlby and developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth coined the phrase in the ‘60s.
The attachment theory aims to help parents ensure that babies grow up feeling emotionally secure.
According to Attachment Parenting UK attachment parenting is all about relationship quality.
“By creating an environment of love, encouragement, support and light-heartedness the child’s innate wellbeing will shine through,” the site explains.
“Children who trust in attachments are more likely to become emotionally healthy adults.”
The idea is that babies who experience loving and stimulating relationships with their parents will be emotionally and physically satisfied – and ultimately happier.
Basically, it’s all about instinctive parenting and responding to your parenting instincts, for example giving your baby a cuddle if they cry.
Though they’re actually slightly different, many compare attachment parenting with that of ‘gentle parenting’ and the two techniques can be used alongside one another.
Gentle parenting is characterised by empathy, respect and understanding and relies on teaching children to do what is right by using positivity and patience, rather than fear or punishment.
More child-centric ways of parenting seem to be catching on, particularly when it comes to moving away from more strict forms of discipline used by generations before.
The once popular parenting technique of popping a little one on the naughty step to think about their actions is now being phased out, with nurseries saying that they no longer use the term or the method due to its “negative connotations”.
Duchess of Cambridge’s ‘gentle’ parenting style
Over the years, the duchess has been praised for her own parenting style, with Anne Hathaway once claiming she borrowed a technique from the royal.
The 36-year-old star said she’d read about the “really cool” way the Duke and Duchess speak to their children by crouching down to their eye level, and now she’s started doing it with her toddler.
And earlier this year the duchess once again illustrated her unflappable parenting prowess by gently stopping her youngest son from sucking his thumb.
Throughout the day, the tot was seen slipping his thumb into his mouth including while looking out the window from inside the palace with his two siblings.
But when Louis started sucking his thumb during his balcony debut, the Duchess of Cambridge’s mum reflex kicked in and she smoothly approached Louis with a smile and effortlessly eased his his thumb out of his mouth.