5 Easy Ways To Boost Your Child's Mental Health
Updated: Jul 2
If we are interested in the holistic development of our children, then their mental health should be among our primary concerns. But the topic of mental health is so extensive that we can get overwhelmed with trying to find the relevant information.
Here are five easy ways that you can boost your child's mental health.
Create a safe space to talk about feelings
Normalise talking about feelings, and not just the good ones. If you observe that your child is angry, sad or depressed, help them to understand and explore their feelings by asking them specific questions about how certain situations, things or people make them feel. Create a safe, non-judgement zone by talking about your own feelings and the way that you overcome them so that your child sees that it's normal to not feel great all the time. More importantly, they'll know that they have your support.
Prioritise physical activity
With the increased use of technological devices, kids are more prone to a sedentary lifestyle than ever before. Parents and Guardians need to be intentional about making physical activity a priority. A few suggestions are to go for walks or runs, enroll your child in some sort of extra-curricular activity or join the gym together.
Regular physical activity can help children and adolescents improve cardiorespiratory fitness, build strong bones and muscles, control weight, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Ensure that your child has a healthy, balanced diet
Whenever we talk about diet, we tend to only think about the physical benefits. However, you can also eat for a healthy mind. We should help our kids to choose healthy options and develop good eating habits from young. According to Sutterhealth.org, sugar and processed foods can lead to inflammation throughout the body and brain, which may contribute to mood disorders, including anxiety and depression. Conversely, a well-balanced healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, boosts your mental health.
Just like extra lessons and extra-curricular activities, breaks need to be included in your kids' packed schedules. Kids need time to relax and unwind. Breaks are necessary to prevent burnout. Parents and guardians should try to also coincide downtime for everyone in their families so that they can all spend quality time with each other.
Make sure your child gets enough rest
Studies have shown that kids who regularly get an adequate amount of sleep have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health - Hopkinsallchildren.org
This one might be the least enjoyable thing to do because kids hate when we send them to bed but this one is non-negotiable and you might just have to be the "bad cop" here. But don't be a hypocrite. Kids practice what we show them. Parents and guardians need to also follow the rules, especially this one.
Our kids' mental health is equally important as their physical health. It is our job to help them to develop good habits that promote an overall healthy lifestyle. What we need to remember as parents and guardians, is that we create the environments for healthy habits to flourish and ultimately we should always strive to lead by example. Each point discussed in this article can and should be incorporated in our lives as well. We need to treat our mental health with the priority that it deserves.