Supporting your child’s mental health is one of the most important things we do as parents. Life has been hard for everyone for the past two years, and unfortunately, our children have not been protected from that. Please know that this advice is NOT a substitute for the advice of a medical professional.
Supporting your child’s mental health is more important now than ever. Here are ten ways to help.
- Just listen. When your child comes to you with a problem, sometimes they just need you to listen. When my kids are upset, one thing I like to say is, “That must feel really hard for you right now.” Validating their feelings can go a long way.
- Spend time with them. This means more than sitting on the couch staring at phones. (guilty) Spending time means actively participating in an activity together. Over Spring Break, my older kids and I played Cards Against Humanities, Family Edition. The family edition part is important, apparently, the adult one is a bit inappropriate for kids. There was a lot of poop, burp, and fart talk, but my kids were rolling with laughter. It was so good for all of our souls.
- Talk about hard things.
- Observe their behavior. Learn everything you can about their personalities. This can be paramount in helping you see when something is off. supporting your child’s mental health can sometimes mean being a silent observer. You will be amazed by what you learn,
- Get to know their friends. When you know who they are spending time with, you can keep a pulse on whether or not they are making good decisions. Remember, forbidding friendships doesn’t always end well, so be sure to tread lightly in this area.
- Seek help when you need it. If you know your child is struggling, don’t be embarrassed to ask for help from a licensed counselor or therapist.
- Know that you matter to them. Even if they don’t say it, they want you in the audience cheering them on. When I lost my Mom as a young adult, that was something that hurt me so deeply. I didn’t feel like I had that person who cheered me on and picked me up when things were heavy.
- Set boundaries. Bedtimes, screen-free times, healthy eating habits. The struggle is real. As a mom of two teenagers, I know. But they thrive on routines and boundaries. Trust me on that one.
- Learn from them. Tell them that all the time. Sometimes we don’t know everything and it is empowering to a child to hear you say that they are right. Or that they teach you something new.
- Love them as they are. This one goes without saying in my book, but our number one goal here at Jan Moore is to help parents see that their child is wonderful and beautiful just how they are.
Supporting your child’s mental health is work. It takes time. Intention. But, friends, a happy and healthy child is worth more than gold. Do you have any tips for supporting your child’s mental health? Let us know in the comments.