The Parent/Child relationship is key – activites for you and your toddler.

Activities for you and your toddler

Doing some of the following activities together daily will help you to develop a good relationship with your child:

12 Months to 3 years:

Reading – sit the child in your lap, hold the book in front of the child and read together, pointing to and naming pictures. Ask your child questions about the story and characters. Read the same book over and over, repetition is good. Read with your child at least once a day.

Build blocks together – set aside some time to play with your child everyday. Place a blanket on the floor and sit with your child. There are a variety of blocks available – use blocks that are big enough that young child will not swallow, but big enough that they can hold/play with. Blocks with pictures or numbers are better. Let your child explore the feel of the block. You can model building blocks, but allow your child to build their own version. Letting your child lead in play is crucial as it promotes independence and creativity.

Painting – try and paint together as often as possible, at least once a week. Use bigger paintbrushes and bigger pieces of paper for younger children (you can use ends of wallpaper, cereal boxes, etc.). You can also go outside together and wet a big paint brush with water and make marks on an outside wall.

Go for walks – bring your child for a walk as often as possible, and talk to them about what you see along your journey. Point to objects and name them as you go. When able to walk by them selves, you can hold their hand and talk as you go.

Download these tipsheets to learn how you can support your child’s play: 









For more information on key messages for you and your toddler click

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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.


The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books ( and also on  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.


In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  


Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  


In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from

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