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Parenting children under 5 years

The first 1001 days of a child’s life – from conception to their second birthday – are really important in building a healthy brain, forming the foundations for happy relationships and building resilience to cope with the challenges of life. All the experiences a baby has during these early weeks and months will contribute to this process.

Illustration of a red pram

Children grow and change at quite a pace, and this can be exhausting and sometimes alarming! As your child approaches nursery and beyond the changes can be difficult for you and your child. Getting ready for primary school has its own challenges, too.

Illustration of a babies room with their toys

Most parents (especially first time parents) find things very challenging at times. Your child doesn’t need you to be a perfect parent – good enough is fine! – but if you feel overwhelmed or you need some extra support it is available.

Illustration of a baby toy train

Useful links

Starting school

Is your child starting primary school? Find out how to support them to be ‘school ready’

Get school-ready


Are you pregnant or a new parent and feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope? MindWell has information which may help you.

MindWell Leeds

Behaviour is communication

When children find it difficult or are unable to recognise and share their feelings, they use behaviours to communicate.

Read more

Baby Buddy & Best Beginnings

Guides you through your pregnancy and the first six months of your baby’s life. Try watching the ‘Understanding your Baby’ films.

Baby Buddy

You're not alone

In this short film, mums from Leeds share their stories around how they felt during and after pregnancy, and how important it is to talk to someone.

YouTube film

Leeds Infant Mental Health Service

If you feel you are struggling to feel a bond with your baby or don’t feel good enough as a parent you can speak to your health visitor, midwife or GP about a referral to Leeds Infant Mental Health Service to get support and advice.

Leeds Infant Mental Health Service

Early Start Children’s Centres

Children’s Centres offer support and advice to families with children under 5 years on all aspects of parenting. They work with families to help them give their child a strong start in life, be healthy and safe, and get ready for learning.

Find your local Children's Centre