Supporting Children’s Mental Health
June 28, 2010
Our mental state of being plays a vital role in our physical health. There are many factors
that determine how we function mentally. As educators, we need to be able to understand and
recognize the many signs of our children’s mental health. It will then be our responsibility to provide
the best service possible to our children.
Mental health is defined according to (Sorte, Daeschel, & Amador, 2011, p. 416), as “children’s
abilities to understand and manage their emotions and behaviors, to function positively with others in
an age appropriate and developmentally appropriate ways, and to form meaningful relationships”.
Children need to be socially and emotionally prepared to enter a pre-school environment. There are
three factors that influence mental health, and they are biological, environmental, and developmental.
Some biological factors come as a part of the child’s birth make-up. They may be something that
is inherited, their character, or their state of health. Environmental factors may be their life situations,
such as stress, poverty, and/or family life styles. Brain development has a great impact on a child’s
mental health. Studies have shown that it is very important how a child is nurtured from birth. These
nurturing factors will influence the rest of a child’s life.
Children are spending more time than ever in some type of child development setting. It is vital
that these settings promote positive mental health experiences. With licensing and other state
regulation requirements, centers are mandated to provide services that will foster stability. The
environments have to be small, not over crowded, and have enough caregivers to provide a safe haven
for children. The days of just babysitting are over. There has to be learning taking place in the setting.