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.