top of page

How to Support your Child's Mental Health

Updated: Jan 28, 2023

In order to support your child's mental health, you need to be aware of any signs that they are showing. They might be having sudden outbursts of anger, anxiousness, or floods of tears. There is a lot going on in the world right now and young people can worry inwardly on their own after they discuss issues with their friends. This is on top of other issues they might be navigating through right now such as falling out with friends, identity issues, tests, exams, moving house, etc.

How is your child's mental well-being right now?

For parents, life can be so busy with work, household chores, sorting our house maintenance - the list is endless! Although, it's important to factor in a check in time.

with our children. For very young children, an ideal time is at bedtime as you read them a story. This can be an important one-to-one time for a young child to feel safe and secure. This is a good time to encourage young children to say how they feel.

One way to do this is by using their teddy bears. When your child is holding their favourite cuddly toy then speak to the teddy bear and ask how they are. Your child may very well then answer talking through the bear but expressing their own feelings.

It is most important to note that, in the first instance, you need to make sure you give time to your own mental health, as this will affect everyone else in the household (including the dog!). It is also important to be mindful of the things you say aloud because children can overhear how we feel.

For older children in their teenage years, it can be more difficult to find a time slot to speak to them about what they might be feeling. Therefore, from a young age, it's good to have a 'check-in' time with each other on a regular basis so it becomes habit rather than it appearing we are trying to intrude on our teenagers' thoughts and feelings.

For teens, it can be a good idea to go out with them on a one-to-one basis. This could be anywhere; a walk around the block, time in the car travelling to the supermarket or, if money allows, going out for an early tea.

Tips to self-soothe

Whatever age they are, teach your child or teen to self-soothe:

  • Soothe the nervous system by deep belly breathing - breathe in through your nose for the count of four and then hold for four, followed by breathing slowly out.

  • Hold your arms and rub them slowly in a comforting way.

  • Play some relaxing music.

  • Have a warm bath with lots of luxurious bubbles.

And remember:

  • Accept them as they are and don't try to make them something they don't want to be

  • Make the home environment a place where they feel comfortable

  • Highlight that it is OK to make mistakes... we learn by them.

The above will help young people trigger the ‘rest and digest’ response as opposed to the ‘fight or flight’ response.

Encourage resilience

Teaching resilience is a precious gift we can give to young people because, after all, challenges, mistakes and setbacks are part of living. When young people learn to navigate through their fears and worries, they are then taking positive action. It is our job as parents to make our children independent from us, having the confidence to set forth in their own life of adventures.

So, allow them to manoeuvre at their pace and they will learn to manage their uncomfortable feelings in a healthier and positive way.

If you feel you want to talk about your concerns over your child or teenager, then I am here for you. At first, I can provide a free chat/consultation in order for you to ask any questions and then to organise an appointment time that suits you. Appointments can be either face to face, via Zoom WhatsApp or by phone.

This article was originally published here


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page