Supporting mental health in early childhood

    Mental health should be nurtured from a very young age.  

    It is widely accepted that the early years of a child’s life have great influence on their mental health and resilience. Understanding the factors that put children at risk of developing mental health difficulties plays an important role in prevention and treatment.

    Families face a great deal of economic and social pressures, including unemployment, family breakdown, and welfare system issues which can increase the exposure of children to stress and hardship.

    These experiences will influence the extent to which children achieve developmental milestones and grow into well-adjusted, resilient young people and adults. Therefore, encouraging positive social and emotional development early in life is crucial.

    6 ways to support your child’s mental health:

    •    Respect your children’s feelings. Really listen, without judgement, to what they have to say before you offer advice or get angry
    •    Be aware of sudden changes in behaviour, and talk to them to find out what is going on
    •    Encourage creative outlets such as play, games, sports, art and dance.
    •    Speak openly with children about stress, loss and grief. Help them understand that this is a normal part of life
    •    Show them the importance of expressing their feelings and asking for help. Teach them ways to cope with their feeling in a positive way.
    •    Maintain supportive relationships between family, friends and staff at your early childhood centre, so your children can see that open communication is helpful and healthy.

    By promoting mental health in the early years, you are giving your children the skills they need to cope with life’s pressures, ultimately alleviating the likelihood of developing mental health difficulties now and in the future.   

     

    Posted October 14, 2016 in Blog