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Social and Emotional Development

Keeping your child’s mind in mind

Did you know babies are born with mental health? When we talk about mental health in babies and children we are not talking about illness, we are talking about mental well-being and development. Another way to talk about mental health is to talk about your child’s social, emotional and cognitive development - it's the same thing.1

  • Parents kissing babyNurture Healthy Minds
    Learn how to help your child thrive emotionally, socially and mentally to nurture a healthy mind.
  • Father hugging sonHelp is Available
    Are you concerned or have questions about your child’s development or behaviour? Find a list of community resources available to help.
  • Young child with stressStress
    Kids feel stress, too. Stress is a normal part of everyone’s life including children.
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Little Minds Matter

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Complete the following sentence on social media using the hashtag #LittleMindsMatter

"When I was a child I felt happy when…"


Why is it important to talk about children’s mental health?

  • The first three years is when parents and caregivers can have the biggest impact on helping their child to have good mental health in the future. This is because from birth to age three, your child’s brain is developing faster than it will at any other stage in their lifetime. Healthy brain development will help them to have healthy physical and mental development.2
  • It is possible to prevent mental health difficulties by getting support in the early years when there are signs of stress, behaviour concerns or trauma.

Signs of healthy social, emotion and mental health development are your child’s ability to:

  • Make and develop friendships
  • Manage, understand and express emotions
  • Explore and interact with the environment
  • Show empathy (caring) towards others
  • Have self-confidence
  • Do well in school
Date of creation: December 9, 2014
Last modified on: January 9, 2018


1Zero to Three: Early connections last a lifetime (2017). Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. Retrieved from
2Centre of the Developing Child: Harvard University (2017). Inbrief: Early Childhood Mental Health. Retrieved from