Published on: 5th February 2024

Our early attachment and parent infant relationship services help new and expectant families build a bond and attachment with your baby.

Dr Emma Arnold.jpgEmma Arnold, principal clinical psychologist with Stockport infant parent service, has shared some advice as part of Children’s Mental Health Week (5-11 February 2024)

Emma explains: “Our partners across Greater Manchester have come up with ten tips to support your child’s social emotional development and wellbeing. By following these you can help to give them the best start in life.

  1. Talking and singing to your baby while pregnant helps their brain to grow and helps to form a bond. Our ‘your baby and you’ materials have more advice to help you build this bond.
  2. Taking care of your own mental health means you can better recognise and respond to your child's needs. Take time out to relax, unwind and manage your stress levels.
  3. Watch your baby/child carefully and tune into what they’re trying to tell you - consistently responding will help them to build trust in you
  4. Help your child to feel calm when they feel overwhelmed, as they may struggle to manage strong feelings. Here’s some great advice on the Tiny Happy People website
  5. Young children thrive on routines. They feel safe when they can predict what will be happening throughout the day. They feel calm, which supports their learning and development.
  6. Recognise, praise and celebrate what your child does well, it builds their self-esteem and confidence.
  7. Give your child lots of opportunities to safely interact with different adults and children while with you, it grows their confidence and social skills. Feeling comfortable around others also helps them manage being away from you as they get older.
  8. Teach them words they can use to describe how they are feeling, such as ‘happy’, ‘sad’, ‘excited’ and ‘cross’. When you see your child feeling upset, worried or angry, tell them this is okay. Help them find a positive way of dealing with the feeling.
  9. If they are struggling to manage their behaviour, talk to them calmly about why it’s not okay and what they should do instead. They need adults to be warm and loving but also to set expectations for how to behave. Be a good role model for this.
  10. Give your child your undivided attention when playing together

If you need extra mental health support for you or your child, please reach out to your GP, health visitor, or local support services.”