Play It Forward Therapy

Infant and Toddler Mental Health Screening Checklist FREE

Infant and Toddler Mental Health Screening Checklist- FREE

How do you know if an infant or toddler is on track for social-emotional development?



This Infant and Toddler Screening Mental Health Checklist can be a game-changer. It often triggers those “aha” moments, helping parents caregivers see the need for early intervention or and occupational therapy.



First of all, there are many factors to consider such as environment, attachment type, rich or poor social interactions, individual characteristics such as personality, temperament and intelligence.



Even parental knowledge of child rearing, access to concrete supports and necessities, and caregiver’s own level of resilience play a role in shaping a child’s overall mental health profile.



If you find that your  infant or toddler is experiencing many challenges outlined below and things don’t seem to be getting better, then it’s important to have your child assessed and bring up your concerns with your child’s primary health care provider or pediatrician.



If you think there’s a problem, my advice to you is…

Don’t wait! It's especially important to prevent further delays in development... Plus, parenting can be one of the most rewarding roles, however the truth is... Being a parent or primary caregiver is not an easy job. You also deserve support for your own mental health and well-being.


The checklist below is a general screening checklist that represents the most common social-emotional and behavioral issues that arise in babies and toddlers.   It’s important to note that certain challenges like separation anxiety are a normal part of development.  


The key to determining whether a concern is truly a “red flag” is whether the behavior persists over time, the level of intensity of the behavior and whether it consistently negatively impacts the child’s daily activities and routines.

The time period between birth to age 3 is considered a “critical period” in in a child’s early development. A young child's experiences and social interactions with primary care givers is an essential factor for healthy brain growth and development. The neurological foundations for learning, social-emotional capacity and mental health are being set up during this time.



  • Inconsolable “fussiness” or irritability
  • Incessant crying or hard to soothe when upset
  • Does not cry when upset
  • Unprovoked mood swings, unpredictable outbursts or drastic changes in personality
  • Extreme upset when left with another adult, or shows no wariness of strangers
  • No joyful expressions (rarely smiles or shows little to no emotion at all)
  • Periods of sadness, negative mood or very withdrawn behavior that lasts more than 2 weeks
  • Overwhelming feelings of fear and worry that impede normal activities


  • May avoid parent or caregiver when upset
  • Doesn’t seem to enjoy activities.
  • Does not want to play with other children
  • Out of control behavior that may harm the child or others (e.g. excessive hitting, biting, pushing or wanting to hurt others).
  • Loss of language skills and other social capabilities



  • Problems with daily routines such as eating and feeding, sleeping (difficulties with falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up)
  • Difficulty concentrating or inability to sit still
  • Easily startled or alarmed by routine events
  • Inability to adapt to new situations

It is important to consider the child’s personal history, developmental history, the environment and individual temperament. This checklist is for information purposes only. Be sure to talk to your caregiving team or health care provider if you have questions or concerns.

“You got this!”


Occupational Therapy Screening Checklist (For ages 0-3)

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