Practical advice and tips to support your child
1. Asking, listening and talking
Regularly ask how they are and how they are feeling, so they get used to thinking about it. They may initially say ‘I’m fine’ or shut you down but by frequently checking in, they know you are there and are creating the space to be heard. This advice from the charity Young Minds gives tips on age-appropriate ways to begin conversations.
2. Exercise, eating and sleeping
Regularly exercising, eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep are good ways to help your child keep mentally well. It seems simple but ensuring these basics are in order will make a big difference.
3. Contact the school
If you are worried about your child, or your child’s sudden behaviour changes, get in touch with their school. You can work together to develop strategies to help your child. They will also be able to offer some insight into anything that is happening in the day that may be contributing to your child’s mental health concerns.
4. Be a role model
Demonstrating how you cope with challenges is positive action you can take, along with openly working on having positive mental health yourself. Talking about what you do to help yourself and why it’s important gives permission for your child to see their own mental health as a priority too.
5. Being kind to yourself
All parents lose their temper, or say unkind things at times. Apologising and accepting responsibility for the behaviour shows your child that you are only human if you make a mistake.