Mental health is just as important as physical health to a child's well-being.

Mental health is just as important as physical health to a child's well-being.

What are the early warning signs of mental health problems/social and emotional delays?

Some early warning signs can include: the lack of ability to be soothed, lack of regular sleep/awake cycles, and serious issues with feeding. Although all children experience these problems from time to time, when these issues become serious or interfere with the child’s quality of daily life, it may be time to seek help. Sleeping and eating are important for very young children and affect their growth and development and their relationships with you. Some of your child’s problems may be normal behaviors due to their temperament but they may also be signals that something is wrong. Support is so important for parents/caregivers and families at this time as well as talking with a trusting doctor.

Parents/caregivers of young children in child care may hear about their children’s misbehavior at child care or preschool. Hitting other children and biting are common for toddlers who do not yet have speech to tell someone about their needs. These children need support, good redirection, and understanding.

Young children may seem bored, not interested in others and in activities given to them. They may have little emotion and seem distant in their relationships with others. Parents/caregivers will want to talk with their doctors or get information from resources such as Zero to Three. If you live in Connecticut, you can call Connecticut’s 2-1-1 Child Development Infoline at 800-505-7000 or just dial 211. Care coordinators at the Infoline can help parents/caregivers with questions about their child’s development, behavior management strategies and programs, make referrals to services, and provide advocacy and follow-up as needed.

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