Module 4: Promoting Mental Health in Early Childhood

Key Components of Healthy Mental Development in Early Childhood

In early childhood, healthy social and emotional development depends on how children view themselves and the extent to which they feel valued by others. The quality of the parent-child relationship is the foundation for emotional well-being and the emerging sense of mastery and self-esteem.

The following pages highlight the roles of the family and the provider in helping the child successfully achieve social and emotional developmental goals. Topics include:

  • Self-Control
    • Sleep
    • Eating
    • Toilet Learning
    • Self-care
    • Emotions
    • Development of a moral sense
  • Self-Esteem
    • Parent-child relationships
    • Feelings of competence
  • Socialization
    • Social Skills with Family
    • Sibling Rivalry
    • The New Baby
    • Social Skills with Friends
    • Cooperation
    • Aggression
  • School Readiness
    • Parents Role
    • Children at risk for school problems

The interview questions, provider tips, and guidance for families suggested on the following pages are intended to be used selectively to promote healthy mental development; when a provider suspects or identifies mental health problems; or whenever a parent raises concerns about the child's development, learning, or behavior.

Resources for Providers and Families

Developemental and Behavioral Pediatrics Online

Learn the Signs. Act Early

What to Expect and When to Seek Help: Social and Emotional Development in Early Childhood PDF

Shonkoff JP, Phillips DA (eds.), and Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Committee on Integrating the Science of Early Childhood Development. 2000. From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.


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