Promoting Mental Health in the Classroom: 6 Ways to Support Your Students

It’s no secret that in today’s society, our focus on mental health has been brought to the forefront. Children, too, have mental health needs that we, as educators, are in a unique position to positively impact. We have the opportunity to play an essential role in fostering emotional wellness for each child in our charge. It goes without saying that from time to time, families should be guided to mental health professionals to intervene. But by implementing the following six tips, we can help create a supportive environment that fosters the mental health of our students, helping them become confident, happy, and successful in the classroom and beyond.

  • Focus on joy.

A child’s happiness is crucial in promoting mental health. It’s essential to create an environment that is engaging, where students feel comfortable and encouraged to participate. As educators, we can support mental health by focusing on activities that bring joy, such as music, movement, and even time outdoors.

  • Establish trusting relationships.

Students spend the majority of their waking hours in school. That said, a trusting and caring relationship between child and teacher is critical in supporting a young child’s mental health and overall development. To establish trust, display warmth and affection consistently, use an appropriate tone of voice, communicate at the student’s eye level, and share loving, encouraging comments.

  • Teach social-emotional skills intentionally.

Social-emotional skills are essential to a child’s mental and overall well-being. As educators, we must intentionally create opportunities and provide resources that help children learn about and practice these skills. One way to do this is by using age-appropriate books about feelings, planned lessons on emotions, grace & and manners, coaching through the use of a ‘peace’ or ‘calm down’ area that isn’t confused with being in ‘time-out’, and modeling appropriate behaviors.

  • Learn to regulate your own emotions.

Teachers must learn how to regulate their own emotions to be fully available and present for their students. Self-awareness and self-care can help educators become more in-tune with their emotions. Regular self-reflection and self-care practices such as exercise, mindfulness, and therapy can help you remain calm and balanced during difficult situations inside & outside the classroom.

  • Create a Safe and Consistent Environment.

Creating a safe, consistent, and supportive environment is essential in promoting mental health in young children. A safe environment helps children feel secure and at ease. A consistent environment helps children feel in control and helps them anticipate what might happen next. A supportive environment helps children feel heard and valued.

  • Encourage and Foster Positive Relationships.

Strong relationships help children feel connected, loved, and valued. Encourage your students to build positive relationships with peers, adults, and their family members. Teach your students how to share their feelings in a healthy manner, use conflict resolution, and how to provide positive feedback to one another.

Joy, positivity, pro-social concepts and communication skills are woven throughout the GrapeSEED curriculum’s natural approach to acquiring English.

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