toddler playing with building blocks with adult helping
Missions Discipleship

Factors that Impact Preschoolers’ Mental Health

Preschoolers grow in all areas: physically, cognitively, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. Each of these areas has an impact on the mental health and well-being of preschoolers. Let’s look at factors in each of these areas which impact a preschooler’s mental health.

Physical Health

  • Healthy prenatal care
  • Proper nutrition
  • Consistent health care
  • An injury or long-term illness

Cognitive Health

  • Exploration of objects and the environment
  • Sensory learning
  • Following directions
  • Problem solving
  • Language acquisition
  • Development of memory

Social Health

  • Relationships with parents, family, and caregivers
  • Healthy attachments with others
  • Responsiveness of caregivers to needs
  • Sense of self
  • Communication skills

Emotional Health

  • Loving and nurturing caregivers
  • Emotional needs are met
  • Recognizing and naming emotions and feelings
  • Regulating emotions and actions
  • Building emotional connections with others
  • Development of resilience

Spiritual Health

  • Development of trust
  • Caregivers who meet physical and emotional needs
  • Feeling loved and secure
  • Acquiring basic attitudes about God, Jesus, the Bible, and church
  • A foundation of unconditional love and acceptance

Those who care for preschoolers can help them grow by responding to their needs in these areas. Preschoolers need strong relationships with loving caregivers in order to positively react to the stressors in their lives. Placing focus on these areas helps preschoolers to grow in healthy ways.

Joye Smith is the WMU preschool ministry consultant.