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  • Writer's pictureColorado Coherence Collective

What is Attunement?

Attunement is the ability to identify, understand, and appropriately respond to social-emotional needs. It is both a neurobiological process and a learned skill. Attunement is a catalyst for secure attachment, emotional intelligence and maturity, emotional regulation, and mental wellness.

Attunement requires 3 crucial skills-based steps:

  1. Ability to notice when we, or our loved ones, are experiencing a distressing or strong emotion.

  1. Ability to empathetically associate meaning to our internal experiences, or to the outwardly observable behaviors of our loved ones.

  2. Ability to effectively and appropriately respond in a way that validates and mitigates distressing emotions for ourselves or for our loved ones

Parents/caregivers are uniquely positioned to connect with their children in a way that fosters a sense of safety, belonging, and motivation in the body and mind.

  • During infancy, caregiver-child attunement mostly involves responding to basic needs, such as safety, warmth, food, sleep, and love.

  • As children get older, their developmental needs become more complex, and oftentimes, more perplexing to children and adults alike.

  • To complicate matters more, children have not yet developed the skills needed to effectively understand and communicate their social-emotional needs, meaning these unmet needs often manifest as challenging behaviors.

  • Chronic stress and mis-attunement can impair expressive and receptive communication abilities, restrict our neuroceptive systems to a hypervigilant state, and lead us to engage in fear-based behavior in response to anything other than purposefully embodied calmness.

In order to effectively teach our children how to attune to and regulate their bodyminds, we must learn how to attune to and regulate our own bodyminds, first.

Parents/caregivers may benefit from professional and community support to:

  • Learn theories, models, and strategies rooted in relational neuroscience and trauma-assumed perspectives.

  • Experiment with neurodiversity-affirming communication and behavioral techniques that foster connection within their families.

  • Practice somatic body-based co-regulation techniques in community with other parent/caregivers.

  • Build sustainable systems, structures, rituals, and routines to promote social-emotional wellness within their families.



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