Understanding infant mental health during the first 1001 days of you child’s life is highly important. This is because, the first 1001 days of a child’s life are crucial days. From the day of your child’s conception up to age two, they experience very rapid growth. Your child’s brain is developing very rapidly during this stage.
This period of your child’s life lays the foundation for their future development and is based mainly on their relationships with you as a parent. Your child’s interactions and experiences with you and other individuals greatly shapes their brains during this time. Healthy emotional and social development during the first 1001 days of your child’s life will help them feel safe and also lay a foundation for lifelong mental and physical health.
What is Infant Mental Health?
Infant mental health involves the social and emotional well-being, fitness and development of children in the earliest years of their lives. Good infant mental health yields positive outcomes throughout ones life. It influences how they will parent their own children in the future. Early experiences influence a child’s emotional well-being as well as the way in which their bodies and brains develop. This is because the first 1001 days of a child’s life are a period of rapid development both mentally and physically.
Below are 5 outcomes achieved when parents and caregivers ensure good infant mental health during the first 1001 days of a child’s life.
The feeling of Safety and Security
Good infant mental health helps young children feel safe and ready to play and explore. They are ready to learn and experience new and exciting things such as entering into early education and starting school.
Positive Contribution to Society
The chances of young children achieving their potential in later life is increased when the foundation is well laid. Children who experienced good infant mental health during childhood contribute better to the society and economy as adults.
Social and Emotional Development
Good infant mental health lays the foundation for children’s social and emotional development. It also increases a child’s resilience and adaptability; two key factors that help them thrive as adults.
Children with good infant mental health develop behavioural and physiological regulation which are linked to lifelong physical and mental health and well-being.
Healthy and trusting relationships are necessary for living a healthy and fulfilling life. Children learn to form trusting relationships with parents and caregivers at an early age, especially when they experience good infant mental health. This helps them bond and form lasting relationships as adults.
Image Source: Parent-Infant Foundation