Does this mean we will prop up your 6 month old on the couch and ask them to share their feelings? Of course not. It might sound silly, but infant and early childhood mental healthcare is often overlooked, and yet, desperately needed at times. I have talked to countless parents in tears, because no matter how much we love these precious little humans we have been given, they didn’t come with an instruction book.
These are just some of the common struggles facing parents of children 0-3 years old: naptime/bedtime issues (trouble falling or staying asleep/ nightmares), picky eating, refusing to follow directions, temper tantrums (commonly looks like throwing self on the floor, hitting, kicking, screaming), biting, being rough with younger siblings or animals, toileting issues (regression, frequent accidents, and/or stool withholding), separation anxiety, and many others.
Before I became a licensed mental health counselor, I spent ten, fun and amazing years as a preschool teacher and private nanny. One of my favorite areas to work in as a counselor is infant and early childhood mental health, because I love to help parents feel empowered, and I can see the relief in a parent’s eyes when they have an advocate that is here to work with them in developing age-appropriate systems, routines, and schedules that address and correct these issues, leading to increased parent confidence, happier kids, and harmony in the home and family.