Improving Your Toddler's Mental Health

toddler learning

It can seem very strange that infants, toddlers and preschoolers might need psychological help. But ask any parent who has a child who cries constantly, will not settle, or who does not seem to learn as quickly as their peers how difficult, frustrating, and even frightening this can be. Learning, development and behavioral delays in infants and preschoolers can be early warning signs of significant mental health issues (e.g. autism, OCD, language difficulties), or may reflect a mismatch in the parent-child relationship. Our psychologists have specialized training in assessing and treating toddlers, and in helping parents with strong, positive, and nurturing attachments to their children.

Positive Signs of Child Development:

  • Easily makes and holds eye contact

  • Mirrors facial responses, sounds and actions of others

  • Is meeting developmental milestones for fine and gross motor skills, language, and problem-solving ability

  • Recovers easily when startled

  • Points at desired objects

  • Seeks adult support when needed, and then confidently explores their world

Psychological, Social, and Emotional Development in Preschoolers may be Encouraged by:

  • Responding to the child's bids for attention or recognition in a positive manner

  • Allowing the child to lead play sessions with you, utilizing developmentally appropriate toys

  • Gently exposing the preschooler to a wide range of sensory experiences (e.g. foods, environments, animals and items)

  • Ensure the child has "daily down time" where they can invent their own games and develop personal creativity

  • Establish consistent daily schedules, including regular bedtimes  that are the same all 7 days of the week

  • Encourage play with "real world" toys and objects while minimizing exposure to screens, tablets, and televisions

If you are struggling with your child's behavior, or are concerned about their development, it may be a good idea to speak with one of our family psychologists in Edmonton. We can often quickly identify a few steps you can take to help your child.

Our therapists have advanced training and extensive experience working with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with complex needs. These include children who have experienced abuse, neglect, or who have been exposed to domestic violence. We also work with children who come from wonderful homes, but due to genetics, temperament, medical trauma, chronic illness, injury, accident, or some other reason that may not be clear, are struggling to manage daily tasks, display difficult behaviors, or seem to not be achieving developmental milestones.

Our therapists often have success helping families improve their child's behavior, and strengthen the parent-child relationship through the use of well researched and established treatment approaches such as play therapy, parent-child attachment therapy, expressive art therapy, family counselling, Circle of Security, Watch-Wait-Wonder, and Video Feedback.