The Importance of the Mental Health of Children

By: Life's Choices|September 9, 2020

There’s a lot of talk about the stress and uncertainty our children are facing these days. Will school open on time? Will there be in person classes, online or a hybrid option? Will there be school sports? When will interactions feel “normal” again? It’s hard to answer any of these questions, so it’s important to educate ourselves on the best way to support our children’s (and our own) mental health through the pandemic of 2020.

Stress affects the brain development of children and also affects the way kids learn. It’s important to develop resilience in children and nurture their core needs of belonging and independence so they can develop a sense of safety in this changing world. 

PROTECTIVE FACTORS

According to STARR Commonwealth Trauma Informed Resilient Schools, there are four main protective factors for resilient children

  1. Supportive adult relationships
  2. A sense of self-efficacy and perceived control
  3. Adaptive skills and self-regulatory capacities
  4. Sources of faith, hope and cultural traditions    

MEETING CHILDREN’S NEEDS

How do we do meet those needs? First and foremost, by listening. Listen to their fears, their successes, and their ideas. With anxiety and depression on the rise in young people, it’s vital that we see through their eyes to understand how they are perceiving the world.  

Social and emotional learning are key skills our children need for their overall well being. Academics are important, but having the skills to navigate relationships and their emotions is extremely valuable when it comes to managing stress. Tim Elmore of Growing Leaders says it this way: 

“Building social and emotional skills actually enables students to learn in uncertain times.

  • One of the most important gifts we can give to our students is to help them shape a positive narrative about their lives.
  • One of the best gifts we can give ourselves is to grow our emotional intelligence so we are ready to lead our classrooms and families.
  • One of the strongest ways we can accomplish both of these is through stories and metaphors we can hold in our minds to guide our narratives.

Another website to check out is Common Sense Media. They have wonderful resources to help you support your kids right now.  Look under the Parent Tab for their most recent articles.

CONTACT US

Here at Life’s Choices, we want to help you feel empowered in raising your children through anything that comes their way. You are the best support your children will ever have, and you can help care for their mental health. So, call us today if you need additional resources — we’re here for you!

Kutztown: 610-683-8000 | Hamburg: 484-660-3526

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