When many people think of newborns, they think of joy. We imagine the youngest years as a whimsical time, characterized by ease and surprise. But early childhood mental health professionals say that children from birth to 3 years of age are capable of a range of deep emotions, including sadness, grief and anger, just as their caregivers are subject to mental health challenges.
“We should not think of children ages 0 to 3 as the main stressors of the family,” said Dr. Jamie Amy Howard, senior clinical psychologist at the Institute of Child Thought. “The diagnostic criteria for something like early childhood depressive disorder will be based on much more behavioral traits, as young children cannot tell us, ‘Yes, I have feelings of worthlessness.’ They do not have mutual recognition, which is the ability to think about their thoughts. So it’s very, very behavioral. “
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children with mental health disorders can change their learning, behavior, emotions, and difficulty during the day. Research shows that preschoolers և even children can experience depression: anxiety.
Children are resilient, especially when they have supportive caregivers. But it is true that the early years are a significant period of development; a young child’s emotional well-being can affect his or her health later in life.
Early emotional experiences are part of the architecture of children’s brains. This is why experts say that potential caregivers realize that both adults and children have a tendency to have mental health problems.
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“Studies show that approximately 9.5% to 14% of children from birth to 5 years of age may have emotional challenges that can be called mental health disorders,” said Ennifer Boss, Early Childhood Director of Mental Health համ Strategy Zero. Three: “Usually, the first people to realize something is coming out are the parents. They are the ones who notice that tribulation. ”
Experts say that parents should be sensitive to their children’s emotions, but they also warn against excessive anxiety.
“Brain growth and development are very important, so we want to make sure we can meet the needs of young children. That said, you don’t have to be perfect. Stress happens. I do not want my parents to blame me. “Don’t worry,” Howard said. “If you hug your baby, feed him, put him to sleep, bring him to everyday life, you do a good job.”
Anxiety about children’s mental health during the epidemic
In France, doctors have expressed concern about the impact of the coronavirus on the mental health of children. The number of children in need of treatment after the suicide attempt has doubled at the country’s busiest pediatric hospital. (March 12)
What signs should parents look for?
To assess the child’s mental health, Howard advises parents to monitor the issues (CDC has a comprehensive guide) և behavior.
Newborns need to grow physically and have an emotional connection. As he gets older, Howard says that there are four main categories of basic developmental stages. ) If you are wondering if your child is making a living, և online resources are not enough, consult your pediatrician.
The most important thing that experts say is that caregivers need to pay attention to behavioral changes. Caregivers take good care of their newborns. They know their favorite foods, their baby’s sleeping eggs, their newborns’ voices, the different cries, and their significance.
“Nts people know a lot, they can feel safe, trusting that they will recognize when something is not right,” said Boss.
When a baby is born physically or developmentally disabled, it can make it even harder for parents to read the signs and understand their baby’s behavior. Experts say that in these cases it is even more important to check regularly with a healthcare professional.
If your child needs help
If your child is worried, experts say the best thing you can do is talk to your pediatrician. They can advise a specialist, such as a child psychologist, to make a deeper assessment.
If you realize that your child is struggling, there are steps you can take at home to offer extra care.
“Hug, sit close, read books together, play, pet the family dog,” Howard said. “You want to notice what your child needs to be given. Because it is a connection. Some children are easy and some children are not, but in any case, the burden is on the parents to meet the needs of the child. stress, they often have more needs. ”
Why can he take care of you?
Children mostly exist in their relationship with their primary caregiver. These relationships are important for healthy growth and development.
Howard, in particular, said from 0 to 3 months that the most important thing to control is not the baby, but the mother. Many experts say that at any age a parent can reduce stress to their child.
“It is much more common for a mother to have postpartum anxiety and depression. And if he is not equipped to respond responsibly to the child’s needs, that is the biggest risk factor, ”Howard said. “If a child has a healthy caregiver who does his or her best, they can do quite a lot.”
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