Mental health can affect the way that people think, act, and feel, which is why ensuring that your children’s mental health is supported is just as important to their development as their physical health. The things that you say and do, as well as the environment in your home life, will help you with your children’s mental health. In this article, we will look at some tips to help you support their mental health.
Hug Your Children
One of the most basic things to do to help you support your children’s mental health is to hug them and tell them you love them. By displaying the fact that you love them, you can help foster a sense of belonging in them, which can help with their self-esteem as they grow. If they have had a tough or stressful day, a simple hug can help ease some of the tension that they are feeling.
Show Interest in Them
A child can sense if their parents are interested in them, as well as if they do or do not approve of them. If they do not feel like you are interested in them or approve of them, they are less likely to approach you if something is wrong. Show interest in who they are, what they are doing in life, and how things are going for them, and they will feel supported enough to know they can come to you when they need to. Also, by showing interest and spending time with them, you might be able to pick up on nonverbal cues from your child if something is going on with them. Do not confront them, though; just remind them that you are there for them if they want to talk about whatever seems to be bothering them.
Praise Their Character
Encourage and praise your children; this will help improve their self-esteem and confidence. If they have a big achievement, make sure to acknowledge it and celebrate it with them. Take them out for ice cream if they get a good grade on a test; if they get a role in a play, celebrate it. Make sure you praise their character traits more than you praise their physical appearance or achievements. They respond well to positive reinforcement, so try to reinforce the things that you want to see repeated, like helping others, kindness, and empathy. If they help a friend with a crisis, make sure you praise them for doing so, that reinforces that it is a good thing for them to keep doing.
Recognize effort, too, like if they are learning to play a new instrument, saying something about how proud you are that they are working so hard at it or that it sounds like a piece they have been struggling with is a lot more valuable to them than just telling them that they are talented.
Model Healthy Coping Skills
You need to teach your children how to handle their emotions in a healthy way, and the best way to do that is by example. Teach them good ways to handle stress, upset, and negative emotions. If you display unhealthy coping skills, they will pick those up too. Keep in mind that your children are always watching.
Spend Uninterrupted Time with Your Children
Take some time each day to simply be with your children uninterrupted. Put down your phones and play with them, talk about their day, tell them stories, and more. Just being with your children is important, and it will help you build and foster a healthy relationship with them, which is good for their mental health.
Allow Your Children to Fail
You do not want your child to fail or be upset, but those moments are important to developing their character and helping them grow emotionally. You learn from failure and heartbreak, so you need to let them experience it. As long as your child is safe, stay on the sidelines and simply be there to support them when they need it instead of rushing to fix the problem the second it happens.
About the Author
Auz Burger is a freelance writer and an expert in mental health. She has a BA from Washington State University and has been writing and editing professionally for over a decade.