Mental health in Children's Health

By: Anselm Anyoha MD, Masters in Infant Mental Health
 
 
Learning Empathy, the African Way, Sold on Amazon
Learning Empathy, the African Way, Sold on Amazon
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Feb. 23, 2022 - PRLog -- When we talk about mental health in children, from two-week-old babies to two-month-old infants or even 3-year-old toddlers, we refer to their emotions, feelings, and social abilities.

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.

Culture

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.

Tips

Below are five ways caregivers can build optimum quality relationships (https://www.dranyoha.com/nurturing-infant-caregiver-relat...) with their infants beginning at birth.

Caregiver Sensitivity: A sensitive caregiver recognizes an infant's subtle cues to signal their wants and needs. The caregiver can make a reasonable interpretation of an infant's signals and respond to them promptly.

Calmness & Regulation: Newborns and infants need help to stay calm and regulated to learn from what is going around them.

Communication: Remember that newborns and infants do not communicate the same way as older children. They communicate through gestures, crying, silence, looking around, stretching their arms and legs, and so forth.

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/) call this synchronicity serve and return, or a bidirectional interaction between baby and caregivers.

Child Neglect

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/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/index.html) of the Federal Child Abuse Prevention Act (CAPTA).

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