As a parent, you play an important role in the development of the sound mental health of your child. Most kids look to their parents to deal with difficult emotions such as stress and anxiety,and there are many ways to support your children through navigating these emotions.
Here are my top 5 ways to support your child’s mental health.
Encourage healthy coping skills.
How you, as a parent, react to anger, sadness or feeling overwhelmed will most likely be mimicked by your child. Improving your coping skills by deep breathing, using stress balls, making art or being active outside may show them healthier ways to cope with their own feelings.
Listen and respect their feelings
Let your child know it’s ok to feel emotions like sadness or anger. Encourage them to talk about how they feel. Keeping communication and conversation flowing by listening to them can help them learn to deal with their emotions easier as they grow.
If your child doesn’t feel comfortable talking to you, encourage them to speak with someone who they seem more comfortable with
Teach them the importance of having strong relationships
Research shows that deep connections with family and friends helps children feel secure. Feeling a sense of security in their relationships, makes it easier for them to deal with situations that may bring on stress and anger.
Spend quality time by having meaningful conversations. Explore and try new things together and encourage them to nurture and maintain their relationships with their friends.
Help them develop self-esteem
Having high self-esteem can boost mental health. Encourage them to do things independently and provide genuine praise when they do things on their own. This could simply be making their own bed, packing their own lunch or even getting their homework done by themselves.
Teach stress management
While it’s important to protect your child from any abuse or bullying, it may be impossible to prevent your child from experiencing stress, and it’s important to help them learn to deal with it in a healthy way.
It’s inevitable, they will have arguments with friends or feel overwhelmed with school. Giving your children skills that could be useful in these situations now is an important step to take to build their mental strength.
Be proactive in helping your child find activities that help them release their stress. This could be writing in a journal, drawing or even talking to a friend.