Early Experiences Matter

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Little Kids, Big Questions
is a series of 12 podcasts that translates the research of early childhood development into parenting practices that mothers, fathers and other caregivers can tailor to the needs of their own child and family. Click here to listen to or download the podcasts. This podcast series is generously funded by MetLife Foundation.

Early Childhood Mental Health

Responsive relationships with consistent primary caregivers help build positive attachments that support healthy social-emotional development. These relationships form the foundation of mental health for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

"Infant mental health" is defined as the healthy social and emotional development of a child from birth to 3 years; and a growing field of research and practice devoted to the:

  • Promotion of healthy social and emotional development;
  • Prevention of mental health problems; and
  • Treatment of the mental health problems of very young children in the context of their families.1

During the experiment, an infant and a parent interact playfully before the parent suddenly stops responding and looks away. After a short period, the parent reengages with the infant. The infant’s reaction to a suddenly unresponsive parent and his or her behavior when the parent resumes interaction, have been used to study many aspects of early social and emotional development.

Connecting with Babies: The Power of Parent/Child Interaction

*Important: By clicking play, I understand and agree to the Terms of Use that govern this video, Connecting with Babies: The Power of Parent/Child Interaction, and that it is the sole property of ZERO TO THREE and cannot be downloaded or distributed without ZERO TO THREE’s express permission. To read the complete Terms of Use, click here.

This video clip is excerpted from ZERO TO THREE's Safe Babies Court Teams: Building Strong Families and Healthy Communities.

ZERO TO THREE materials may not be reproduced, displayed, distributed or otherwise used in any format, including electronically, without the express written consent of ZERO TO THREE. Permission is needed for EACH separate product that will be shared and permission granted for one article or product does not convey to another article or product, even if the copyright of both is held by the same party. 


1 This is a definition of infant mental health developed by ZERO TO THREE’s Infant Mental Health Task Force.

Learn More

Preventing Expulsion From Preschool and Child Care - Young children are being expelled from preschool and child care programs at an astonishing rate, often because of challenging behaviors such as aggression, tantrums, and noncompliance. This practice deprives young children of the benefit of early childhood education and may leave unaddressed the mental health issues that lead to challenging behaviors.

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health: Promotion, Prevention, and Treatment - ZERO TO THREE’s three-part blog series exploring the mental health needs of very young children. This blog series was originally published in the Huffington Post.

Little Kids, Big Questions: A Parenting Podcast Series From ZERO TO THREE™ - This series of 12 podcasts addresses some of the most common (and challenging) issues facing parents of babies and toddlers today, including sleep, crying, feeding and the development of self-control and self-esteem. Each podcast features an interview with an expert that focuses on how to apply the research of early childhood development to your daily interactions with your baby or toddler.

Early Childhood Mental Health: Promotion, Prevention and Treatment - Effective strategies for promoting healthy social and emotional health in very young children.

DC: 0-3R - ZERO TO THREE’s revised, developmentally based diagnostic manual, is based on a growing understanding of early cognitive development. It stand to make early treatment more effective than ever. The new criteria include new diagnostic subsets for depression, anxiety disorders, including separation anxiety and social anxiety, and feeding behavior disorders.

Most Popular Resources on Early Childhood Mental Health - Here you will find a complied list of our most popular resources on early childhood mental health



border=0 Disorders of Behavior and Emotional Regulation in the First Years of Life - Provides a scientifically proven demonstration of how to help families struggling with common and behavioral disorders. More Details

Early Experiences Count: How Emotional Development Unfolds Starting at Birth
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Diagnostic Guidelines
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Early Childhood Mental Health: Promotion, Prevention and Treatment
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Tips for Surviving Child Developmental Assessment
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Explore our Parenting Resources

Call for Proposals - 2016 Annual Conference

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