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What Every Child Needs For Good Mental Health

Jun 8, 2023
Schools, Learning

Mental health is like a treasure chest filled with emotions, thoughts, and feelings that guide us through life. Just as we need food for our bodies, we also need some essential ingredients for our minds to stay strong and happy. Imagine a toolbox for your brain – it needs tools to build resilience, confidence, and a positive outlook. This is true for children too! At both school and home, there are special things we can provide to help children have good mental health.

In international schools, a sprinkle of understanding and a dash of support go a long way. Children thrive when they feel safe and heard, like flowers soaking up sunshine. Kind teachers, friends who lend a hand, and activities that spark curiosity can help kids blossom. At home, the recipe is just as important! A cup of love, mixed with a spoonful of quality time, creates strong bonds and helps kids express themselves. Just like we water plants, we should nurture children’s feelings and thoughts. When we combine these ingredients in schools and at home, we create a wonderful dish called "Good Mental Health" that children can savor throughout their lives.

What Every Child Requires for Good Mental Health

Every child requires certain elements to maintain good mental health. These include:

1. Love and Support

Children need to feel loved, supported, and valued by their caregivers. Positive relationships with parents, family members, and friends contribute to their sense of security and emotional well-being. When children receive unconditional love and support, they develop a strong foundation for healthy emotional growth.

Studies have shown that children who have secure attachments with their caregivers have better mental health outcomes. They exhibit higher self-esteem, improved social skills, and are better equipped to handle stress and adversity. It is essential for caregivers to create a safe and nurturing environment where children feel comfortable expressing their emotions and seeking support when needed.

2. Nutrition and Physical Health

A healthy body is closely linked to mental well-being. Proper nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate rest play a vital role in supporting a child's mental health. A well-balanced diet, rich in essential nutrients, fuels the brain and supports cognitive development.

Regular physical activity not only promotes physical health but also has a positive impact on mental well-being. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. It can help reduce stress, anxiety, and improve overall mood. Encouraging children to engage in sports, outdoor activities, or simply play actively can have significant benefits for their mental health.

Additionally, ensuring that children get enough sleep is crucial. Sufficient sleep allows their bodies and minds to recharge, promoting optimal mental functioning and emotional regulation.

3. Stability and Consistency

A stable and predictable environment helps children feel safe and secure, reducing anxiety and stress. Children thrive when they have routines and clear boundaries that provide a sense of stability. Consistency in daily activities, such as mealtimes, bedtimes, and school routines, helps children develop a sense of control and understand what to expect.

For children who have experienced trauma or instability, creating a stable environment becomes even more important. Consistency in caregiving, routines, and expectations can help rebuild trust and provide a sense of security.

4. Opportunities for Play and Creativity

Play is a natural way for children to explore their emotions, learn problem-solving skills, and develop their imagination. It is through play that children make sense of the world around them and learn how to interact with others. Encouraging play and providing opportunities for creativity promotes positive mental health in children.

Play allows children to express themselves freely and experiment with different roles and scenarios. It helps them develop social skills, empathy, and emotional regulation. Whether it is imaginative play, outdoor play, or engaging in creative activities such as drawing or building, playtime should be prioritized to support a child's mental well-being.

5. Emotional Expression and Communication

Children should be encouraged to express their emotions and communicate their thoughts and feelings effectively. Emotional expression helps children develop emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and the ability to regulate their emotions. When children feel heard and validated, they are more likely to develop healthy coping mechanisms and maintain positive mental health.

Caregivers can create a supportive environment by actively listening to their children, providing empathy and understanding, and validating their emotions. Encouraging open and honest communication allows children to express their concerns, fears, and joys, fostering a strong emotional connection and promoting mental well-being.

6. Positive Role Models

Having positive role models and mentors who exhibit healthy coping strategies and positive attitudes can significantly impact a child's mental health. Children often look up to adults in their lives, such as parents, teachers, or community leaders. When these individuals model resilience, empathy, and healthy problem-solving skills, children learn valuable lessons about emotional well-being.

Positive role models can help children develop a positive self-image, build resilience, and navigate challenges in a healthy manner. By surrounding children with individuals who exemplify positive mental health, we can shape their attitudes and behaviors towards their own well-being.

7. A Sense of Belonging

Children need to feel a sense of belonging within their family, school, and community. Establishing a sense of belonging helps children develop a positive self-identity and fosters social connections. When children feel connected to others, they are more likely to experience positive mental health outcomes.

Creating opportunities for children to engage in activities that promote social interaction, such as team sports, clubs, or community service, can enhance their sense of belonging. It is also essential to foster an inclusive and accepting environment where children feel valued for who they are, regardless of their differences.

8. Education and Learning

Access to quality education and opportunities for learning not only supports intellectual development but also contributes to overall mental health and well-being. Education provides children with the tools and knowledge to navigate the world, make informed decisions, and develop critical thinking skills.

Schools play a crucial role in promoting children's mental health by providing a safe and supportive learning environment. When schools prioritize social-emotional learning and create spaces for emotional expression, children develop the skills needed to manage stress, build healthy relationships, and cope with challenges effectively.

9. Emotional and Mental Health Education

Teaching children about emotions, mental health, and coping strategies empowers them to understand and manage their own well-being. By educating children about good mental health tips from a young age, we reduce the stigma surrounding emotional health issues and equip them with the tools to seek help when needed.

Incorporating emotional and mental health education within school curricula can help normalize discussions about mental well-being. Providing age-appropriate information about emotions, stress management, self-care, and resources for support empowers children to take an active role in their mental health.

10. Access to Mental Health Services

Having access to appropriate mental health services and support systems ensures that children receive the necessary care and intervention when needed. Mental health services can include counseling, therapy, or psychiatric support, depending on the child's needs.

Unfortunately, many children do not have access to adequate mental health services due to various barriers, such as financial constraints, lack of awareness, or limited resources in their communities. It is crucial to advocate for policies and resources that prioritize children's mental health, ensuring that all children have access to the support they require.

Understanding the Importance of Mental Health in Children

Recognizing and addressing mental health in children is of utmost importance. Mental health issues can affect a child's cognitive, emotional, and social development. Untreated mental health conditions can have long-lasting effects on their overall well-being, academic performance, and relationships.

Children experiencing mental health challenges may exhibit symptoms such as persistent sadness, anxiety, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating, or withdrawal from previously enjoyed activities. It is essential for caregivers, educators, and healthcare professionals to be vigilant in identifying these signs and providing appropriate support.

By addressing mental health issues in children, we can help them develop resilience, cope with challenges, and thrive in all aspects of their lives. When children's mental health needs are addressed, they are more likely to succeed academically, build healthy relationships, and contribute positively to their communities.

Factors impacting children's mental health

Several factors contribute to mental health problems in school children. It is important to recognize and address these factors to create an environment that promotes and supports children's mental well-being.

Family dynamics and relationships

Family dynamics and relationships significantly influence a child's mental health. Family conflicts, parental separation, or neglect can have a profound impact on a child's emotional well-being. Children who experience consistent conflict or lack emotional support within their families may be more susceptible to developing mental health issues. 

It is crucial for caregivers to foster healthy and supportive relationships within the family. Open communication, conflict resolution skills, and providing a nurturing environment can help mitigate the negative impact of family-related stressors on a child's mental health.

School environment

The school environment plays a crucial role in a child's mental health. Bullying, academic pressure, and lack of support from teachers or peers can contribute to mental health issues. Children spend a significant portion of their time in educational institutes when they enrol for CBSE school admissions, and their experiences within this environment can greatly impact their well-being.

Creating a positive and inclusive school climate where students feel safe, supported, and valued is essential. Implementing anti-bullying programs, providing mental health resources within schools, and promoting a culture of empathy and respect can significantly improve children's mental health outcomes.

Traumatic experiences

Traumatic experiences, such as physical or emotional abuse, neglect, or the loss of a loved one, can have profound effects on a child's mental health. Trauma can disrupt a child's sense of safety, trust, and well-being, leading to a range of mental health issues.

Early identification of trauma and providing appropriate support is essential in mitigating the long-term impact on a child's mental health. Trauma-informed care, which focuses on creating safe and supportive environments for individuals who have experienced trauma, is crucial in promoting healing and resilience.

Socioeconomic factors

Socioeconomic factors can significantly impact a child's mental health. Poverty, limited access to resources, and social inequality can contribute to stress and negatively affect a child's well-being. Children from low-income families often face additional challenges, such as unstable housing, food insecurity, and limited access to healthcare.

Addressing socioeconomic disparities is crucial in promoting children's mental health. Policies and programs that aim to reduce poverty, provide affordable housing, ensure access to quality healthcare, and offer educational opportunities can help alleviate the stressors associated with socioeconomic factors.

Genetic and biological factors

Some mental health conditions have a genetic or biological basis, making children more susceptible to developing these conditions. Conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders, and mood disorders can have a significant impact on a child's mental health.

Understanding the role of genetics and biology in mental health is important in providing appropriate interventions and support for children. Early identification and targeted interventions can help children manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.

Key Strategies for Promoting Children's Mental Health

To promote good mental health habits, it is important to implement various strategies that support their emotional well-being. Here are ten key strategies to consider:

1. Foster a nurturing and supportive environment at home and in the community.

Creating a nurturing and supportive environment is crucial in promoting children's mental health. Caregivers, family members, and community members can contribute to this environment by providing love, support, and understanding. Encouraging positive communication, active listening, and empathy can foster strong emotional connections and promote mental well-being.

2. Encourage open and honest communication with children, allowing them to express their thoughts and emotions.

Open and honest communication is essential for children to express their thoughts and emotions freely. Caregivers should create a safe space where children feel comfortable sharing their concerns and experiences. By actively listening and validating their emotions, caregivers can foster a sense of trust and support.

3. Teach and model healthy coping strategies, such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, and positive self-talk.

Teaching children healthy coping strategies equips them with the tools to manage stress and regulate their emotions. Techniques such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, and positive self-talk can help children develop resilience and deal with challenging situations effectively. Caregivers can model these strategies in their own lives, demonstrating their effectiveness and promoting their adoption by children.

4. Provide opportunities for physical activity, play, and creative expression.

Physical activity, play, and creative expression are essential for children's mental health. Engaging in physical activities, such as sports or outdoor play, not only promotes physical health but also releases endorphins, improving mood and reducing stress. Encouraging children to explore their creativity through activities such as drawing, painting, or imaginative play can also have a positive impact on their mental well-being.

5. Create and maintain consistent routines to provide stability and predictability.

Consistent routines provide children with a sense of stability and predictability, which is crucial for their mental well-being. Establishing regular schedules for meals, bedtime, and daily activities helps children feel secure and in control. Consistency in routines can also reduce anxiety and help children develop self-discipline and time management skills.

6. Educate children about emotions, mental health, and the importance of seeking help when needed.

Education about emotions and mental health empowers children to understand and manage their well-being. Teaching children about different emotions, their triggers, and healthy ways to express them helps develop emotional intelligence and self-awareness. Additionally, educating children about the importance of seeking help from trusted adults or professionals when needed reduces the stigma surrounding mental health and encourages early intervention.

7. Encourage positive relationships with peers and mentors.

Positive relationships with peers and mentors contribute to children's mental health and social development. Encouraging children to build and maintain healthy friendships fosters a sense of belonging and support. Positive role models and mentors can provide guidance, support, and inspiration, helping children develop resilience and navigate challenges.

8. Address and Minimize Sources of Stress

Help children manage stress by balancing academic expectations with personal growth. Encourage open dialogue about school challenges. Create a supportive atmosphere for discussing family conflicts and teach healthy conflict resolution skills.

9. Promote a Healthy Lifestyle

Support mental well-being through balanced nutrition, including diverse foods. Engage children in enjoyable physical activities to boost mood and reduce stress. Establish a consistent sleep routine for better rest and emotional resilience.

10. Provide a Secure, and Safe Environment

Creating a secure and safe environment for children at home and school is pivotal for nurturing their mental well-being. This involves establishing physical safety measures, such as childproofing the home and ensuring school premises are secure. Equally important is fostering emotional safety by encouraging open communication, active listening, and a non-judgmental atmosphere. When children feel protected both physically and emotionally, they are more likely to develop a strong sense of trust, confidence, and resilience, which are crucial elements for their positive mental health and overall development.


Prioritizing importance of mental health in children is essential for their overall well-being and development. By understanding what every child needs for good mental health and implementing strategies to promote it, we can ensure that children grow up in an environment that supports their emotional, cognitive, and social well-being. Let's work together to create a world where every child can thrive mentally and emotionally.



What does a child need to be mentally well? 

Children require a supportive and nurturing environment to achieve good mental health. This includes:

1. Emotional Support: Children need to feel loved, valued, and supported by their parents or caregivers. Open communication and a safe space for expressing feelings are crucial.

2. Stable Relationships: Healthy relationships with family members, friends, and other caregivers provide a sense of belonging and emotional security.

3. Healthy Lifestyle: Proper nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate sleep contribute to overall well-being, including mental health.

4. Stress Management: Teaching children coping skills and stress management techniques helps them navigate challenges and setbacks.

5. Play and Exploration: Playtime and creative activities allow children to explore their interests, develop skills, and foster a positive self-image.

6. Routine and Structure: A consistent routine provides stability, predictability, and a sense of control for children.

7. Positive Role Models: Positive role models, both in real life and through media, can help children learn healthy behaviors and attitudes. 

How can I improve my child's mental health?

To enhance your child's mental health, consider these strategies:

1. Open Communication: Encourage your child to express their feelings and thoughts, and listen without judgment.

2. Quality Time: Spend meaningful time together, engaging in activities your child enjoys.

3. Teach Coping Skills: Help your child learn problem-solving, emotional regulation, and stress management techniques.

4. Healthy Lifestyle: Promote nutritious eating, physical activity, and adequate sleep.

5. Limit Screen Time: Monitor and limit screen time to ensure a healthy balance between online and offline activities.

6. Encourage Play: Allow your child to engage in imaginative play, creative arts, and other activities that promote exploration and self-expression.

7. Set Realistic Expectations: Avoid putting excessive pressure on your child to excel academically or in extracurricular activities.

Why is good mental health important in children

Good mental health in children is crucial because it:

1. Affects Development: Mental well-being is linked to cognitive, emotional, and social development.

2. Builds Resilience: Children with good mental health are better equipped to handle challenges and bounce back from setbacks.

3. Supports Learning: Mental well-being enhances a child's ability to focus, concentrate, and learn effectively.

4. Promotes Healthy Relationships: Positive mental health helps children develop and maintain positive relationships with peers and adults.

5. Prevents Issues: Early intervention and promoting mental well-being can prevent the development of more serious mental health issues later in life.

What is the biggest factor of mental health?

Mental health is influenced by a combination of factors, making it difficult to pinpoint a single "biggest" factor. However, some significant factors include:

1. Genetics: Family history and genetic predispositions can play a role in mental health conditions.

2. Environment: Childhood experiences, upbringing, family dynamics, socioeconomic status, and exposure to trauma or adversity can impact mental health.

3. Brain Chemistry: Neurotransmitters and brain structure can influence mood and behavior.

4. Social Support: Strong relationships and social connections contribute to positive mental health.

5. Life Events: Significant life events, both positive and negative, can impact mental well-being.

What is positive mental health?

Positive mental health, also known as mental well-being, is all about feeling good emotionally and mentally. It means being able to handle tough situations and bounce back from difficulties. When we have positive mental health, we experience feelings of happiness, contentment, and fulfillment. We also have a healthy view of ourselves and believe in our abilities and worth. Building and maintaining healthy relationships with others is an essential part of positive mental health. It's also about having effective ways to cope with stress, anxiety, and other emotions, so we can navigate life's challenges in a healthy manner. Taking care of our mental well-being is crucial for leading a fulfilling and balanced life. 

What is the first rule of mental health?

The very first rule of mental health is ‘learn to distinguish who deserves an explanation, who deserves only one answer, and who deserves absolutely nothing’.


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