Four Simple Mental Health Concepts Kids Can Understand

Here are four easy things we can teach kids to help them understand and manage their social emotional and mental health. 

By Momentous Institute | May 06, 2022
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Mental health can feel like an overwhelming topic for us to understand, let alone for us to teach to children! There is a lot of complexity when it comes to this conversation, and we should lean into the nuance of mental health as we learn more and more about it.

But when it comes to kids, we can keep it simple. Here are four easy things we can teach kids to help them understand and manage their social emotional and mental health.

 

Feelings

Kids can learn from a very young age that we all have feelings and that these feelings can change throughout the day. Here’s an overview on three things to teach kids about their feelings.

In the very simplest version, kids can learn that we have many feelings, and that they can show up at different times. When we teach kids a lot of feelings vocabulary, we help them understand that it’s perfectly normal to have big and small feelings every day. This understanding of feelings is the first step towards emotional intelligence.

 

Impulse Control

Children of all ages can be impulsive. It takes a lot of practice to learn how to manage these impulses, but it can be taught. Here’s a post that dives into three ways to help kids manage impulses.

Kids can learn that impulses are feelings we get when we really, really want to do something… but we can tell ourselves not to act on impulses when we need to.

 

Resilience

Resilience is the act of bouncing back after a setback or challenge. All children (and adults) face challenges and can understand the simple concept of resilience. Need a few tips? Here are five ways to build resilience in ourselves.

Kids can learn that when we face a setback, like making a mistake or when things don’t go our way, we can recover and try again.

 

Optimism

Some children are naturally optimistic and look on the bright side while others may need additional support. While it’s true that most of us have a natural set point of optimism, it’s also true that it can be changed with practice and experience.

Kids can be taught about optimism by helping them come up with solutions to challenges and find new opportunities in uncertainty.

 

Each of these four concepts are important building blocks on the journey to managing mental health. Want help introducing these concepts to young children? Check out these character books featuring each of these topics, available in the Momentous Institute shop.

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