Infant and Early Childhood
Babies need Good Health, Strong Families, and Positive Early Learning Experiences to foster their healthy brain development and help them realize their full potential. Good physical and mental health provide the foundation for babies to develop physically, cognitively, emotionally, and socially. Access to good nutrition and affordable maternal, pediatric, and family health care is essential to ensure that babies receive the nourishment and care they need for a strong start in life. Young children develop good, strong physical and mental health with the help of their families, where stability, safety, and supportive relationships can nurture their growth.
Having a good relationship with your baby helps your child develop good mental health. When your baby has good mental health, they can develop the skills to:
- Form close and secure relationships
- Experience, regulate and express emotions
- Explore their environment and learn
Youth Mobile Crisis: Call the crisis stabilizations line for urgent connection and support: 1-833-885-CARE
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor 24/7
Early Childhood Warmline: 1-877-271-7611
Doing what you can to provide a loving and stable environment for your baby gives them the best chance for being a healthy adult. The great news is it doesn't have to be perfect!
Tips for creating nuturing surrounds:
- Create routines with your baby that happen around the same time each day (i.e. meal time, nap time, play time, bath time, story time).
- When you can't be with your baby, leaving them with a consistent, caring, trusted adult will help your baby feel secure and safe while you are away.
- When you have a calm response to your baby's strong emotions, it can help teach your child to self-soothe and express their emotions in a healthy way.
Look for small ways to build moments of connection withy your child throughout your day. You can build these times into your normal routines.
Tips for creating connections:
- Sing silly songs and read books to your child
- Talk with your child about about what you are doing together
- Count your baby's toes when changing a diaper
- Hug and cuddle before bed
- Brush your teeth together
- Have a dance party
- Play simple games
- Turn off distractions during meal times
- Explore your surroundings during meal times
- Explore your surroundings with your baby (babies are naturally curious)
- Make a silly face and watch your baby's reaction
- Comfort your child when they are scared, angry, or hurt
Signs and symptoms of emotional concerns in young children:
Infant (0-1 years old)
- Rarely cries
- Little interest in people or toys
- Hard to calm or soothe
- Does not make eye contact
- Does not gain weight
Toddler (1-3 years old)
- Does not go to familiar adults for help or comfort
- Does not like being touched or held
- Does not play well with others
- Extremely fearful
- Does not show different emotions
- Unable to calm self (self soothe) with caregiver support
Preschool (3-5 years old)
- Does not play well with others
- Has trouble making friends
- Loss of skills (regression) that toddler could previously preform (like toileting, talking, playing)
- Destructive to self and or others
- Withdrawn, sad, fearful
- Unable to calm (self soothe)
Contact the Infant and Early Childhood Team
- Infant and Early Childhood Brochure
- State of Babies Yearbook
- Oklahoma Association for Infant Mental Health
- How Racism Can Affect Child Development
- What Is Inflammation? And Why Does it Matter for Child Development?
- What Are ACEs? And How Do They Relate to Toxic Stress?
- What is Executive Function? And How Does it Relate to Child Development?
- 5 Steps for Brain-Building Serve and Return
- Play in Early Childhood: The Role of Play in Any Setting
- Epigenetics and Child Development: How Children’s Experiences Affect Their Genes