Babies and young children thrive when they are cared for by adults that are “crazy about them!” (Bronfenbrenner, 1976 1). Responsive relationships with consistent primary caregivers help build positive attachments that support healthy social-emotional development. These relationships form the foundation of mental health for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
Zero to Three
Extensive research has shown that the quality of experiences in the first 3 years of life has a profound impact on later development, including how children perform in school and their ability to form satisfying relationships with family, teachers, friends and others. Having caring relationships with sensitive parents or other primary caregivers is the most important factor in determining later outcomes. Zero to Three organization defines infant mental health as: “the developing capacity of the child from birth to age three to: experience, regulate and express emotions; form close and secure relationships; and explore the environment and learn all in the context of family community and cultural expectations for young children. Infant mental health is synonymous with healthy social and emotional development.
Children need to know that in someone’s eyes they are “AWESOME”. This gives them the confidence to explore, make mistakes and try again.