This week is infant mental health week.
So the big question is "How do we make sure our babies have the best chance of being emotionally healthy and growing into happy and resilient toddlers, children and adults?"
The answer is "to meet our own emotional needs in a balanced way". We can only give babies something which we have ourselves. If we are eating, drinking, exercising, sleeping, feeling safe, being noticed or listened to, have someone we can totally be ourselves with, feel we have choices or influence over our daily lives, have a sense of achievement, be part of a wider group of people, believe in something bigger than ourselves and have space to think our own thoughts we will thrive.
When we can do this for ourselves we will be able to do this for our children. Our children, in turn, will be able to do it for themselves as they grow.
However - sometimes when you become a parent life changes so dramatically that it is really hard to meet some or all of these needs for yourself but we do need to put ourselves first so that we are able to help our children (Just like putting on an oxygen mask on a plane before you put your child's on).
As the old African saying goes "It takes a village to raise a child" and we all have some responsibility for the well-being of the next generation. As families, friends, neighbours, colleagues, professionals, we can help families with babies to meet their emotional needs, they are part of our community and building happy healthy families helps us all.
If the idea of meeting our (innate) emotional needs is new to you, you might like to see the in8 Cards resource pack Let's all help families in infant mental health week.
Or get in touch with me to find out more?