Just as it’s important to take care of your child’s physical health, keeping up with how your child is feeling mentally and emotionally is equally crucial. As your child navigates through school, camp, and life, they will undoubtedly experience some of life’s most difficult challenges.
As a parent, being prepared with the right information is important to your child’s mental health. In light of Mental Health Awareness Month, here are some pointers to help you maintain good mental health for your child.
Take note of your child’s behavior.
Being observant is one of the most important steps in taking stock of your child’s mental health. Take note of their behaviors in the morning, after school, after camp, and throughout the rest of the evening.
Are they happy and boisterous before school starts? Or do they seem tired, unmotivated, or out of it? And what about camp — do they seem enthusiastic about the experience, or do they exhibit any indicators of stress or anxiety? Other signs may include prolonged sadness and a potential withdrawal from social situations.
These are all telltale signs of whether your child may be struggling or not. There are, however, ways to help your child out should they enter a mental or emotional rut.
Engage in productive conversations with your child.
The power of conversation cannot be understated. Sitting your child down and talking to them can have a number of benefits — including fostering brain development, as the Association of American Universities notes.
Most importantly, though, it can prove to be productive for your child’s mental health. Sitting your child down and asking them about their day can make them feel wanted and secure in their home environment, knowing that they have a responsible adult who is willing to engage and hear them out.
This can also create a safe space for your child to ask questions and clear up any confusion they may have regarding their schooling, camp, or general life experiences. Creating this level of transparency can potentially alleviate any anxiety and stress they may feel.
Express your love.
Of course, expressing your love as a parent will undoubtedly prove to be positive for your child’s mental health! Children desire a space where their voices are heard, opinions are respected, and emotions are reciprocated. As a parent, you can relieve your child’s stress and anxiety by simply giving them a hug and kiss, and telling them you love them.
In fact, psychotherapist Amy Morin states, “Love and security assures them they don’t need to worry about adult-sized problems and it gives them the freedom to just be kids.” She further notes, “When kids feel secure and loved, they are free to focus on other things—like learning and creativity.”
As they go off to school and camp, you can also engage in small acts of kindness by leaving a small note of encouragement in their lunchboxes. And whenever they bring home a good grade or excellent achievement, don’t be afraid to reward them!
Encourage positive thinking and good behavior.
Encouraging positive thinking and good behavior in your child is quite beneficial for their mental health as well. Start your day off with words of affirmation for your child and root them on as they head to school or camp for the day.
You can also motivate them to help others — even in the smallest of ways. Whether it’s helping a friend with homework or assisting a neighbor with their yard work, small acts of kindness can lead to large benefits for your child’s mental health as well.
At Oasis, we take pride in creating an environment conducive to positive mental health for your child. If you would like to learn more, please visit our website today and contact us for more information!