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Kindergarten Readiness: Mental Health & Development

What Is Mental Health & Development?

The way children think or feel about themselves and the world around them.

How Can I Teach This At Home?

Playing

1. Have children use play time as a way to express themselves and their emotions. Art is a great early tool for children to express themselves during play time. 

Reading

1. Read books about different emotions and encourage children to talk about the different emotions they feel.

2. Read about characters who are scared and brave. This will help children understand that it is okay for them to feel that way too.

3. Read stories about children who are experiencing a variety of emotions. "Lucy's Blue Day", by Christopher Duke, is a story about a child who experiences many different emotions, including anger, depression, and excitement. Watch an animated reading of the story here!

Singing

1. Make up a song, such as this song sung by Dave Matthews and Grover from Sesame Street, to help your child express the emotions they are feeling.
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Talking

1. Make sure you are honest and open with your child when talking about how they are thinking and feeling. Keeping an open line of communication is crucial for them to be open and honest with you.

2. Talk to your child every day about something they did that day. They will learn how to best express their successes, frustrations, and failures.

3. Talk with your child about your feelings and watch for any drastic changes in behavior. These can be signs of issues with their mental health. This video showcases some of the behaviors that can be associated with drastic changes and some of the steps that you can take to improve them!

Writing

1. Encourage children to write or draw their feelings. This will help them understand how to express them in a different way.

Skills Checklist

Where Do I Start?

Need More?

The catalog for the Waco-McLennan County Library is available here!

If you want to search for more resources in our catalog in this subject, we suggest you search for the following subject headings:

For more assistance with searching and locating items held by the Waco-McLennan County Library, use our Ask a Librarian feature available on our catalog website or stop in to one of our branches!

The Waco-McLennan County Library provides patrons with access to resources through our Electronic Resources page, which can be found here. Suggested databases are listed below:

Did You Know?

Mental health can be one of the hardest things to address in growing children. However, it is also one of the most important. While everyday stressors can cause behavior changes, as caregivers, it's vital to notice any long-term and drastic changes in the thinking, feeling, and behavior of your child. Talking with your child and encouraging them to talk about their feelings is a great way to keep an open line of communication!

Online Resources

There are many different online resources for early literacy - and we know it can be overwhelming. The following apps, blogs/newsletters, videos, and websites are some of the materials we would recommend to learn more about mental health & development!