Nurturing Early Childhood Mental Health

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Babies and young children thrive when they are cared for by adults who are “crazy about them”!   

Strong parent-child relationships and attachments are the foundation of mental health for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.  Early Childhood Mental Health affects all areas of a child’s life ~ both now and in the future.  A child with good mental health will develop skills that will help him be healthy throughout life.  These skills will also help to prepare him for school entry.

A young child’s mental health includes the ability to:

  • Form close and secure relationships with others
  • Understand and manage his emotions
  • Feel safe to learn and explore his environment

As a parent, you can make a significant impact on your child’s mental health.  Here are some tips to help your child develop good mental health:

  • Be positive and consistent with your child
  • Learn to understand what your child is communicating (both through voice and body language) and respond appropriately
  • Comfort your child when he is upset
  • Spend lots of time playing with your child.  Let him decide what to play and follow his lead.
  • Look in your child’s eyes and try to figure out what he is thinking and feeling
  • Be engaged and present when you are caring for your child
  • Protect your child.  Take charge when needed.
  • Touch your child with love
  • Encourage your child to explore his environment
  • Teach your child about emotions
  • Help your child develop relationships with other trusted adults.

For more information, please visit http://www.preventioninstitute.sk.ca/early-childhood-mental-health

This “Still Face Experiment” demonstrates the importance of parents being responsive to their young children.

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