FROM the moment they are born, simple things like talking, playing and singing, as well as hugging and making eye contact with your baby, can have a huge impact on their brain development and emotional and social wellbeing – now and in the future.

The new Wellbeing for Wee Ones campaign from the Scottish Government’s Parent Club provides encouragement and expert advice to parents as well as practical ideas involving storytelling, singing nursery rhymes or talking. It offers reassurance and support to parents and carers of babies and infants.

The campaign also explains why doing these little things together now is helping more than parents may think and encourages them to go the Parent Club website to find out more.

Dealing with the challenges brought by coronavirus hasn’t made parenting any easier. However, the science behind communication shows that it is the simplest of things that can have the biggest impact on the emotional and social wellbeing and development of babies. Science has shown us how important it is for us all to feel connected to loved ones. This is even more true for babies and young children.

Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey said: “The challenges of the past year have been a reminder for all of us of the importance of looking after our mental health and those around us.

“From the day your child is born and during pregnancy too there are so many things you can do to boost their social and emotional wellbeing. The good news is you’re probably already doing many of these things.

“Singing, chatting or telling a story as you go about your daily routine might not seem much but it’s so valuable.

“As well as enjoying time together, you’ll encourage your little one to be calmer, more content, as well as boosting their social and emotional wellbeing – and that’s good for you both.”

Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, developmental psychologist and research scientist, added: “There is no such thing as a perfect parent. In fact, babies don’t even need perfect parents.

“It is important to connect and communicate with your baby, as every time you do interact with a young child, thousands of new brain connections are made. This builds the brain systems that your child will use to manage stress, trust others, understand language, develop confidence, and get curious about new things – for their entire lives.”