Child Development: Behavior and Mental Health

Childhood is a time of monumental growth and change: each child is affected by unique biological, psychological, and social factors within their life. Although children experience similar cognitive and physical developmental milestones, it’s critical to understand that every child is, and remains, an individual who requires tailored support and learning.

The Child Development: Behavior and Mental Health online short course from the Stanford Center for Health Education (SCHE), part of Stanford Medicine, shows how adults, including healthcare providers, teachers, and caregivers, must capitalize on each child’s individual interests to create the context for optimal learning and positive interactions. Guided by child development and behavior experts, you’ll gain practical approaches and science-based strategies for optimizing a child’s happiness and their innate motivation to learn. You’ll also explore the impact of effective parenting and the importance of social connection. Finally, you’ll discover positive behavioral intervention techniques and learn how to support a child’s mental health. This perspective, which recognizes the role of individual identity within supportive environments, is instrumental in helping children become happier and healthier.

What You Will Learn

  • Gain practical skills and techniques for helping children develop into resilient individuals who thrive in their environment
  • Explore a child’s key developmental milestones, with guidance from Dr. Grace Gengoux, an expert on child development, behavior, and parent-child interactions

  • Understand what challenging behavior means in a child and how to respond using appropriate positive behavior interventions

  • Learn to identify when a child needs help and explore the various ways you can support their mental health

  • Realize the critical importance of social connection with both adults and peers, and gain strategies to foster and maintain healthy childhood relationships

  • Study an array of diverse real-world case studies that demonstrate different perspectives of child psychology from various contexts, cultures, and communities

Who Should Enroll

This course has been designed for medical and healthcare professionals who work in close proximity to children, either in care or mental-health environments. These professionals may be doctors, pediatric specialists, therapists, or social workers. The course is also beneficial for those within child-related occupations who seek greater knowledge of parenting styles, child behavior, socializing, and cognitive development. Such individuals include teachers, parents, caregivers, and school counselors.

This online short course is for you if you want to:

  • Gain a practical approach to supporting child development and mental health as a doctor, pediatric specialist, social worker, or healthcare professional
  • Understand the range of diverse influences on a child’s health and happiness as someone who works with children, within a care or mental-health environment
  • Explore parenting styles, child behavior, socializing, and cognitive development as a teacher, caregiver, counselor, parent, or someone within a child-related profession


  • $1,500

*Course fees may vary by geography

Time to Complete

6 weeks, excluding 1 week orientation.
6–8 hours of self-paced learning per week, entirely online.



Course Page
Online, self-paced, GetSmarter
Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford Center for Health Education