Being PART of a relationship

Daniel Siegel, MD discusses the importance of presence, attunement, resonance, and trust in developing attachment between children and parents. He is very good at creating handy acronyms, and uses PART to refer to these concepts. His work is amazing and I highly recommend it (see this link:

As PARTners or PARenTs, our relationships benefit from a daily dose of: a present moment together, with focused attention, to lovingly respond and enhance trust. That is a long sentence but the time it takes to read it, is about as much time as it takes to do it.

Being PART of someone’s life doesn’t need elaborate gestures or expensive toys. You can come up with creative, playful ways to connect and respond that are unique to you and your relationship. Strengthen your connection by making sure all the senses are represented: I see you, I hear you, I smell you, I touch you, I taste with you, I move with you.

These suggestions might help you practice being present, attuned, and resonant within your relationship. They may require a little trust but also build it. Trying them out can seem silly or scary or risky. Maybe only one or two seem even plausible to you. Use them as templates. Be brave and creative and see what works for you. They could be done with either your partner or your child. The goofy, kid-like ones can have a positive effect on your partner and the more serious, soulful ones may surprise you with their effect on your kids.

Here are some suggestions:

  • A quick kiss on the top of the head.
  • Pretend you have an “I love you” stamp in the palm of your hand and give a little stamp on the shoulder or arm. Let the loving feeling transfer like ink.
  • Bring a fragrant flower home for the table.
  • Hold your hug for five seconds longer than usual.
  • Sit next to each other and allow your breath to have the same pace.
  • Notice the colors in the iris of their eyes.
  • Share your favorite food (even if you wish you could eat the whole thing).
  • Let the other person finish their whole sentence, maybe even twice in a row.
  • Play catch.
  • Read aloud to each other.
  • Play a word game that lets you give a compliment to the other person. (eg: “Hannah has a happy heart” or riff on the last two lines of roses are red, violets are blue.)
  • Comment on a song that reminds you of them. Or play it for them.
  • Massage their hand for a moment and then keep holding hands.
  • Dance around the living room together.
  • Take a moment to notice their scent during a hug.