8 Mental Health Tips For Parents
1. Your Children Are Watching YOU:
Model healthy coping skills.
You can help your children learn how to deal with their emotions in a healthy way by modeling coping skills at home—this will help them in school as well. You can engage in these skills with your child or talk them through doing them on their own. Deep breathing, using stress balls, making art (painting, coloring, doodling) or going for walks can be great strategies for coping with feelings. The habits you are making for yourself—will affect your child.
2. Mindful of behavior changes.
If you notice that your child has become increasingly isolated or withdrawn from their friends, family, or normal routine—it may be a sign they are experiencing a mental health challenge. It’s normal for kids to go through changes in behavior while progressing through different developmental stages, however, always be on the lookout for anything that is overly done. Check in with your child and let them know you’re there and ready to support them however they need. Reminder: there is support for you to be a good supporter for your child.
3. Keep communication honest & open.
It’s important that your child knows they can approach you with any issue without judgement or punishment. It’s important that they will be received and listened to with love and support. Simply letting them know that you are there to support and listen to them without judgment can increase the likelihood that they’ll come to you when they have a problem which will help decrease the chances of a major problem.
4. Set clear boundaries at home.
Uncertainty about day-to-day schedules can lead to a lot of stress or anxiety. Creating a general routine at home can provide some relief and comfort for your child, whether it’s a schedule for daily meals or a weekly game night. Having clear boundaries is also important for your child to know what is expected of them at home and can minimize feelings of frustration from both child and parent.
5. Positive feedback and encouragement.
Children love to receive positive feedback and learn that they’ve done something well. Knowing they’ve done something well increases a healthy self-esteem. In addition, providing positive reinforcement for behaviors will often encourage children to repeat that behavior—and ultimately healthy growth.
6. Encourage joyful movement.
Helping kids find a type of movement they enjoy, even from an early age, is a necessary outlet for kids, which is important for both physical and mental health. Participating in movement together with your child can also be a great way to get them involved.
7. Talk about emotions and feelings regularly.
Kids are like sponges when it comes to learning, including behaviors when it comes to emotional expression and regulation. Instead of saying your day was “good” or “OK,” try to discuss different emotions you felt throughout your day when talking with your child. Talk to them about the moment you felt stressed in a meeting or frustrated with a coworker—and then talk to them about how you handled your emotions in that situation. This teaches them that these feelings are normal and teaches on how to handle the feelings and gives them the vocabulary to talk about a wider range of emotions affecting them.
8. Get professional help if needed.
Recognizing when your child needs help is a crucial skill to have as a parent. There may be times when it can be overwhelming or frustrating to try to handle your child’s behaviors or respond appropriately to their emotions. Don’t be afraid to find and ask for help—it can be a great benefit to both you and your child.
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