Mental health is an important aspect of a child’s overall well-being, and children undergo significant developmental changes from ages 5 to 10. This time is a complex and dynamic process, and during this window of time children experience important developmental milestones that can have an impact on mental health. Children are developing self-awareness, social skills, self-esteem, and coping strategies that will shape their mental health throughout their lives. While this period can be challenging, it is also a time of growth and discovery. By supporting your child’s emotional well-being and helping them develop healthy habits and coping strategies, parents, caregivers and therapists can help ensure that your child is equipped to handle the challenges of growing up.

At age 5, children are starting to develop a sense of self-awareness and autonomy. They are learning to express their emotions and feelings, and they are becoming more independent. They are also learning to interact with others and form social relationships. This can be a time of excitement and exploration, but it can also be a time of anxiety and uncertainty. If your child is anxious it’s important to acknowledge their feelings rather than trying to distract or mitigate what they are experiencing. Family therapy or parenting classes focused on attachment can help you help your child navigate difficult feelings.

As children move through the primary school years, they continue to develop socially and emotionally. It is a time in which they can learn to manage their emotions and behavior and develop empathy for others. They can also become more aware of the world around them and start to develop a sense of social responsibility. However, this period can also be challenging as children face new academic and social pressures. Creating good communication with your child’s educators and creating a calm home environment where your child can learn are ways you can support your child.

One of the most important aspects of mental health development during this period is the development of self-esteem. Children who have a positive self-image are more likely to feel confident and capable, which can help them navigate the challenges of growing up. It is important during this time to focus on your child’s interests and to have rituals at meal time and bedtime. All of this can ground your child and help them develop a positive self-image. Remembering to acknowledge your child for their hard work, whatever the results, is shown to help develop self-esteem with children.

At age 5, children may still be developing their self-image, but by age 10, they have a more well-established sense of self. And as children grow older, it is important that they develop good social skills, learn to interact with others and communicate effectively and form friendships. Social skills are crucial for mental health because they help children build supportive relationships, cope with stress, and develop a sense of belonging. But remember that you are their most significant relationship, and it’s always important to have even a few minutes everyday to simply be with your child. Sometimes going for ice cream can be the most important activity of the day for them!

Your child may experience challenges such as bullying, peer pressure, and academic stress. These challenges can impact mental health, but children who have strong coping skills and supportive relationships are better equipped to handle them. Parents, caregivers and professional educators and counselors can support children by providing a safe and nurturing environment, promoting positive coping strategies, and helping children develop resilience.

There is no one more important to a child than you, but if you feel you or your child need support in order to be your best selves, seek out the services of a professional and know that you and your child can always grow and learn. It’s never too late.