When it comes to looking after infants, many of us parents place our child’s physical health as the top priority. However, recent research has pointed out the need for parents and caregivers to take an equally active approach to infant mental health.
What Exactly Is Infant Mental Health?
One source defines it simply as the “healthy social and emotional development of a child from birth to 3 years.” We often do not associate mental health with infants as they are unable to vocalise their feelings, however young children can experience very strong emotions throughout these early years.
Why Is Infant Mental Health Important?
Research has found that roughly 80% of a child’s brain has developed by the age of two. This period lays the foundation for a child’s development and can have a lifelong impact on their health and wellbeing. At the heart of all this is their social and emotional development, as it is during this time that they form attachments that will shape how they interact with others for the rest of their life.
What Is Infant Attachment?
Attachment refers to the emotional bond that exists between a child and their primary caregiver. Essential to early years development, a secure relationship forms the basis on which parents/caregivers can provide a safe environment that allows their children to discover the world around them.
How Can I Look After My Infant’s Mental Health?
Experts have recommended a number of activities you can try out at home to foster positive infant mental health. Some of these can be broadly categorised under: Communication, Comfort, Play and Teaching.
It is also important not to forget about your own mental health and to take time for self-care. Parents/caregivers need to be aware that their own feelings and experiences may also impact their child. Infants don’t need their parents to be perfect, they just need to be good enough.
Learn More About Infant Mental Health
If you are curious about infant mental health and would like to find out more, why not check out this infographic guide courtesy of the team at Westcan Personnel. This helpful graphic lays out some of information on the topic and also provides some simple steps you can take at home to nurture positive mental health in your little bundle of joy.
Read the infographic below to find out more about infant mental health.