May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Everyone—no matter how young or old—can and do face mental health challenges. 

With babies and young children, we talk about mental health in terms of their behavior, development, and relationships. With new parents and caregivers, perinatal mood, and anxiety disorders (PMADs) can appear any time during pregnancy and the first 12 months after childbirth.

Here are some ways you can help your little one learn and grow through their emotional development:

  • Label your emotions! Even the negative ones. It teaches your child that people experience different emotions throughout the day, and that is ok!
  • Offer comfort—such as a hug—and work through emotions together during times of distress. You don’t need to have all the answers, sometimes being there and letting them know they are not alone is enough.
  • Use positive affirmations! Hearing positive words can contribute to a child’s growth mindset and build confidence—it also teaches them to be kind to one another.

Most of all, if you need help, ask for it. 

Whether you are feeling overwhelmed as a new parent, or have concerns about your child’s development, your doctor or healthcare professional can help you navigate through your concerns and find the best means of care.