Talking about mental health is vital, and it’s also vital that children aren’t left out of that conversation.
Because, like adults, kids can experience mental distress.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures state one in 10 children aged between one and 15 has a mental health disorder, and according to Mental Health Foundation research, around 20% of children have a mental health problem in any given year.
Diagnosed disorders are one thing, but – again, like adults – many more children will encounter stressful periods which can take their toll on their wellbeing.
Being aware of these challenges and supporting kids in developing positive coping skills and self-esteem can make the world of difference.
Here, Place2Be, share seven simple actions for parents to help support their children’s mental health.
With all the pressures on a modern-day parent, it’s all too easy to become distracted. Make sure you carve out time to be with your child one-to-one, when you can very deliberately commit to putting your own worries to one side.
Listen actively to your child and their feelings. This could involve things like paraphrasing their words back to them and asking questions, to demonstrate they have your attention and that you’ve understood them.
Have quiet time together
Enjoying a quiet activity together can make it easier to talk to your child without it turning into an interrogation, and can encourage your child to open up naturally.
Stick to commitments
Follow through on your commitment to spend time with them; they need to be able to count on you and your time together.
Being creative together and encouraging your child to tell their story will help them learn to express their feelings and emotions in a healthy way.
Be a good role model
Think about your own behaviour and how you deal with emotions such as anger and frustration in front of your children, as this will influence how they behave and cope themselves.
Look after your own mental health
Parenting can be a very stressful experience. Looking after your own mental health will have the most beneficial impact of all on the wellbeing of your child.
Place2Be launched the UK’s first ever Children’s Mental Health Week on February 16. For more tips and ideas on children’s mental health, visit www.place2be.org.uk