Children have many needs. The most basic of them being food, clothing, shelter and safety, which are important physical needs for survival. Children also have emotional needs that are equally as important for a child’s mental health and brain development.
The way we think, feel and act is connected to our mental health, which is also connected to our experiences during key developmental stages. Good mental health gives us the ability to fulfill several key functions and activities. And these executive functioning skills enable us to organize information, learn, make decisions, plan ahead, follow rules, express and manage a range of positive and negative emotions, and form and maintain good relationships with others. In addition, mental health shapes our self-esteem and emotional outlook on life.
Children who lack executive functioning skills can experience higher levels of frustration, have difficulty learning and exhibit problem behaviors. This can be attributed to genetics, brain structure, health disorders, trauma, or not getting enough opportunities to practice executive functioning skills.
Helping Your Child Build a Healthy Brain
The brain continues to develop and grow stronger long into adulthood, and it’s never too late for the brain to change. The brain is built, not born.
Mental health plays a significant role in a person’s wellbeing at every stage of life, from childhood to adolescence to adulthood to senior years. The earliest years in a person’s life—beginning right after they’re born and into their teen years—are the best time for parents and caregivers to help a child develop a strong brain and good mental health.
There are five fundamental things every child and adolescent needs to develop good mental health—and you play a part in helping them receive all five. KVC has put together this free, informative resource, 5 Things Every Child Needs for Good Mental Health, to give you guidance and ideas for supporting healthy development. 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.