Thanks to the support of the Children and Families Commission, the Wells Fargo Foundation and David Horowitz the Cube is able to provide information and ideas to help your early learners embrace healthy living and active play. Check back each quarter for strategies and tips to help your little ones learn, grow and play along with research-based science facts for your and your family.
Early Childhood Mental Health
Mental Health problems affect one in five children globally. Even though there is a high prevalence of mental health problems in preschool children, less than a quarter of those children get any professional help. Parents are the central support in seeking professional assistance for early behavior or emotional problems.
Some of the common misconceptions and barriers when it comes to seeking help are the belief that the child’s problem would improve by itself and the idea that parents are strong enough to handle the situation on their own.
Infants and toddlers experience many changes in a short period of time. They are simultaneously developing fine and gross motor skills while navigating their social and emotional world. During this rapid development, challenging behavior may occur as they are learning to assert control over their rapidly changing world.
The majority of the time this behavior is temporary. The child may replace the challenging behaviors with appropriate behavior as the child is being supported by parents and guardians to feel more in control or receiving what he or she desires. However, this might be more challenging for some children and it may take longer for them. At this point, family members and early childhood educators should seek additional support and assistance.
Great ways to interact with your young child
- Learn to read your baby’s cues and what soothing techniques work with each child.
- Talk often with your children from the day they are born.
- Hug them, hold them, and respond to their needs and interests.
- Listen carefully as your children communicate with you.
- Read aloud to your children every day, even when they are babies. Play and sing with them often.
- Say “yes” and “I love you” as much as you say “no” and “don’t.”
- Ensure a safe, orderly, and predictable environment, wherever they are.
- Set limits on their behavior when necessary and guide them calmly, not harshly.
- Adapted from the Early Childhood-Head Start Task Force, U.S. Departments of Education and Health & Human Services
Zero to Three
Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health
Smiling Mind is a not-for-profit organization that works to make mindfulness meditation accessible to all.
Hughes, M., Spence, C., Ostrosky, & M. (2015). Early childhood mental health consultation: Common questions and answers. Young Exceptional Children, 18(3), 36-51.doi: 10.1177/1096250614558852