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Mental health in Children's Health
By: Anselm Anyoha MD, Masters in Infant Mental Health
Infants making great strides in social-emotional health can express their emotions and feelings through smiling, babbling, cooing, gesturing, and giving appropriate hugs. They can also frown, cry, or thrash their arms and legs to show disapproval in their current situation or when they do not receive the attention they desire. A child's social and emotional health is the foundation of many future milestones and accomplishments, such as learning, using words, thinking, and acquiring knowledge.
Many parents tend to raise their newborns and infants according to their cultural beliefs. As a result, they mimic what they see older folks with children do, which seems natural to them. But is raising a child based on what comes naturally enough? It might be for some parents and children, but not for others.
Pediatricians, because they see caregivers and their newborns several times within a few months following birth, could champion the message of promoting optimum caregiver-child relationships.
Below are five ways caregivers can build optimum quality relationships (https://www.dranyoha.com/
Calmness & Regulation: Newborns and infants need help to stay calm and regulated to learn from what is going around them.
Affect Attunement: Caregivers should identify with and share in the feelings and experiences of their infants and children. Try to imagine what your baby is going through.
Synchrony: Synchrony occurs when caregivers and newborns simultaneously participate in the same activities or behavior. Jack Shonkoff and his team at the Harvard Center for the Developing Child (https://developingchild.harvard.edu/
Not providing an infant with the basic social and emotional relationship they need to develop may count as child neglect and a violation (https://www.cdc.gov/