Children have many needs; the most basic of them being food, clothing, shelter and safety. These physical needs are important for survival, however, a young person’s mental and emotional needs are equally as important for their development.
The way we think, feel and act is connected to our mental health. Good mental health gives us the ability to fulfill a number of key functions and activities. These executive functioning skills enable us to organize information, learn and make decisions, plan ahead, follow rules, express and manage a range of positive and negative emotions, and form and maintain good relationships with others. Mental health also shapes our self esteem and emotional outlook on life.
Children who lack executive functioning skills typically experience higher levels of frustration, have difficulty learning and exhibit problem behaviors. Possible causes for this issue can be attributed to genetics, brain structure, health disorders, trauma or simply not getting enough opportunities to practice executive functioning skills.
The brain continues to develop and grow stronger long into adulthood, and it’s never too late for the brain to change. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood to adolescence through adulthood. The early years are the best time for parents and caregivers to start building a child’s mental health.
You can support a child’s mental health by downloading this FREE guide, 5 Things Every Child Needs for Good Mental Health. This resource will help you understand how brains are built, identify factors that impact mental and emotional health, and learn what you can do to strengthen and support a child’s mental health.