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National Child And Youth Mental Health Day: How To Talk To Your Preschooler About Mental Health

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National Child And Youth Mental Health Day: How To Talk To Your Preschooler About Mental Health

May 7 is National Child And Youth Mental Health Day, an opportunity to build and strengthen connections between young people and the adults who love and care for them. Careful conversations can have a meaningful impact on the mental health and wellness of our children. Mental health is a big and heavy topic, and perhaps something we don’t consider discussing with our preschool-aged children, but early and age-appropriate conversations can lay the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy communication. Here are our tips for talking to your preschooler about mental health and wellbeing.

Starting The Conversation

Children’s mental health can be most easily characterized as the way that they think and feel about their world and themselves. Good mental health means that they have the tools to identify their feelings, navigate challenges, cope with stress, and overcome challenges. 

Talk About Their Feelings
One of the earliest and best things to do to nurture your child’s mental health is to help them identify and name their feelings. Help your child recognize and share with you when they feel sad, mad, tired, frustrated, embarrassed, and especially when they feel happy, excited, and proud. Teach your child that their feelings are ok, even the negative ones, and encourage them to explain why they feel a certain way or to describe the situation that prompted those feelings. Try not to tell your child how they feel or how they should feel in a certain situation. Don’t label their feelings as bad or wrong, but help them to brainstorm and talk about what they can do to feel better. Maybe your child would prefer some space to breathe and process their own feelings. Maybe they will choose a cuddle and a good cry. Maybe the best solution is to do an activity that will make them feel good like drawing or going outside to play. When your child chooses a successful strategy to identify and manage their feelings, make sure to give them lots of praise.

Talk About Your Feelings
It can be natural to want to protect your child from difficult and serious situations. And you should! Don’t burden your child with complicated adult stresses, but don’t hide your own feelings either. It is okay to say, “Mommy feels sad today.” Or to say “I felt really angry at work today.” But make sure you model resolution and strategies for your own mental health too. Try, “I was really sad when I heard my friend is moving away, but I met her for lunch and we went for a walk together, and I am happy I got to spend some time with her before she leaves.” Or, “I got very angry at work when my coworker didn’t do their job, but I spoke to them about it and we figured out a way to work together to get the job done.” Or, “I was really frustrated yesterday so I made sure I had a really good sleep last night and today I feel stronger.” Sharing your feelings and your strategies to feel better will show your child that hard feelings are normal and that there are ways to overcome those feelings.

** If you are concerned that your child is struggling with complicated emotions or showing signs of poor mental health, please seek assistance from your family doctor or another health professional right away. 

Grey Matter Montessori Preschool
Is Committed To Nurturing Mental Health

Simple and honest communication about mental health from an early age is a great way to normalize the feelings we all have. Helping your preschooler name and process all of the complexities of emotions will help build confidence and resilience and create a foundation for open communication as your child grows and develops.

The Montessori Method focuses on meaningful activities that promote self-determination, inclusivity, empowerment, and curiosity, all of which are linked to increased levels of childhood psychological health and wellbeing. If you are interested in exploring the benefits of a Grey Matter Montessori education for your preschool or pre-kindergarten aged child, contact us to book a time for a school tour at our NW Calgary location. We are accessible just off of Symons Valley Parkway in the NW community of Evanston. Call us for more info on our early child education programming at 1-587-707-4739.


Q: Is it better for my child to stay in a Montessori program for their entire school journey?
A: We may be biased, but we believe every child can benefit from a Montessori education. However, the reality is that Montessori education is not widely available for every student from preschool to grade 12 in Calgary. And factors such as location, community, finances, and availability will influence every family’s decision about where to send their children to school. But even if a Montessori preschool program is the only exposure to the Montessori Method of child-led learning your child will have, the impact of this philosophy of education will set the groundwork for future academic and social success.

Q: Is there a checklist of things my child must know before attending preschool?
A: At Grey Matter Montessori in Calgary, we value the differences that make each child unique. If your child is aged 3-6 they may be ready to begin to explore learning and we are ready to facilitate it. Learn more about exploring your child’s readiness for preschool here

Q: Is a Montessori education better for my child’s mental health?
A: There is an interesting research project exploring the connection between a Montessori curriculum in early childhood education and elevated psychological wellbeing in adults. Read more about this groundbreaking research here.

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