Nurturing Your Child's Mental Health
To take part in Children’s Mental Health Week 2022, we’ve compiled some tips and advice for nurturing and looking after your child’s mental health, equipping them with the tools to deal with their mental health as they grow.
Create a safe & positive home environment
- Be aware of your child’s media use, both how long they are spending looking at screens and the content they are consuming. Ensure that the social media, games and tv they are seeing is age appropriate and healthy.
- Be careful when discussing serious family issues around your child. Children can dwell on and worry about these things.
- Provide time for play and family activities with your child. Not only can this be fun and enriching, it’s important bonding time between you and them.
- Be a role model! Making time to do things that nurture your own mental health and openly talking about how you feel shows your child the importance of these things.
Nurture their self-esteem
- Praise your child often - things that seem small to us can be big achievements to them.
- Ask questions and show an interest in their interests and activities! Sharing your child’s enthusiasm in their interests feeds their passion and confidence in what they do.
- Tell and show them that you love and accept them for exactly who they are. Especially if they have done something wrong, make clear afterwards that one bad choice doesn’t diminish how much you love them. (Plus lots of hugs, kisses and cuddles!)
Ask your child how they are feeling every day. This gets them to stop and consider how they feel and try to put it into words. Teach them the ‘feeling words’ such as happy, sad and angry, to help them to communicate. As soon as their speech starts to develop, encourage them to ‘use your words’ whenever they are becoming overwhelmed by their emotions. Learning early to talk things through rather than acting out when they are feeling sad or angry is a healthy communication tool that will set them up for success as they grow. Help them with prompts if they are struggling to find the vocabulary that fits how they feel.
Mental Health Activities
Get out into nature
Spending time outside in nature is a natural antidote for stress and a natural mood-booster that helps to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. Plus, nature is the ultimate open-play environment, building confidence as your child chooses how they want to play and interact with nature.
Do some baking
Baking is a great bonding experience between you and your child. It’s tactile, fun and very rewarding. Your child gets a boost from the pride and satisfaction of making something from scratch themselves, plus they get a delicious treat out of it!
Get the crayons out!
Crafts like drawing and painting are great calm, mindful activities. Some kids like the structure that a colouring book provides, while others will enjoy the freedom of a blank page and their imagination.
Sing and dance!
Put on some favourite songs and have a singing and dancing session! Encourage your child to let loose without worrying about looking silly (yes, that means you too!). Singing and dancing is a great way to blow off some steam, a natural mood-booster, confidence-booster and it’s fun!
Do some yoga
Yoga is relaxing, enjoyable and can teach your child how to slow down if they’re wound up. It can also teach them to consider how they feel, both mentally and physically. Do it together as a family for some calm, bonding time.
These are general tips for nurturing your child's mental health on a day to day basis. If you are worried that your child is suffering from serious mental health issues, share your concerns with your child's doctor for professional guidance and help.