It is important to maintain good mental health as well as a healthy physical body. It impacts the way that children feel, think and behave. You can play a vital role in supporting your child’s emotional health by recognizing early signs.
How can you promote mental health?
- Being aware of what you say to your child and how you talk to them;
- Clear and positive actions
- You can also find out more about the following:You can create a healthy environment at home.
Here are 10 practical tips to help you promote the mental health of your child:
1. Everyday, connect with your child
Make time each day to engage in an activity that allows you and your child to connect without distractions. This will allow for a comfortable conversation. While we all have busy lives, doing this activity together with your child will allow them to express themselves and feel safe.
2. Have quiet time together
It’s a fun way to spend time with your child, and it doesn’t require any planning! Quiet time without interruptions is a great way for your child’s attention span to grow and focus. Quiet time can help your children reset their thoughts when things get overwhelming and prevent behaviour escalation into meltdowns.
3. When your child does well, praise them
Praise their small achievements and acknowledge their efforts. Say, for example, that your child struggles to sit calmly and quietly at the table. It is unrealistic to expect your child to sit quietly and calmly at the dinner table for a half hour. Small steps could be to praise them for achieving 5-10 minutes. This could be further developed by reminding the person of their previous success and setting a goal of 15 minutes at the next meal.
4. Encourage your child to be confident
How they feel about themselves is their self-esteem. Good self-esteem is characterized by a positive outlook and a feeling of confidence. Fostering self-esteem involves showing love and acceptance and asking about their interests activities.
5. Listen to your child
Listening to them and what they say is important. Children’s feelings may seem unrealistic to adults, but they are not able to draw on the wisdom and experience of their parents. They may need guidance and help to understand situations and emotions. Answer your child’s concerns and reassure him in a way that is age-appropriate. While you may not have the answers to all of their questions, discussing things can make them feel more calm.
6. Keep to your routines and commitments as much as possible
By following through with commitments and routines, you build trust and continuity two important factors in building relationships. To help your child to feel secure and safe, try to stick to as many routines as you can. Include regular times to go to sleep, wake up, eat meals, and do activities/hobbies.
7. Keep your promises
If you need to break your commitment to a routine or a commitment, make sure that the reason is valid and explain it to your child. Keep your promises.
8. Play together whenever you can
Playing is an excellent way for kids to discover new things and improve their problem-solving skills. Play is a great way for children to learn new things and develop problem-solving skills.
9. Be a role model
Take care of your mental health. Children are very intuitive and can easily detect feelings like stress, anxiety and hopelessness.
10. Help your child develop a language for feelings
It can be difficult to teach children about emotions as they are an abstract concept. However, if you can help them understand and express these feelings they will be more likely to not ‘act out. You can, for example, discuss the feelings of characters in a story and why they might be feeling this way.
These tips are meant to be helpful. Accepting that your child might not always feel comfortable speaking to you is essential. This is difficult for parents, but it is true that this will happen at times. You can help them find a positive adult role-model, such as a grandparent or older sibling, rather than feeling resentful. If you are concerned about your child’s behavior, mental health, or well-being, please speak to your GP. They may first offer you a face to face appointment, or ask that you speak with them by phone or video. You shouldn’t be worried about wasting the time. They are trained professionals who want to help.