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Supporting Your Child’s Mental Health

Supporting your child’s mental health is so important! We share six ways you can help your kids and those around you feel great about themselves.

As they grow, it’s just as important to support your child’s mental health as you do their physical well-being. As parents and caregivers, we are uniquely positioned to provide what our kids need to develop into emotionally confident and resilient adults.  An ongoing responsibility, we’ve put together a few helpful tips to help you in this role.

 6 Ways to Support Your Child’s Mental Health

From the moment they are born, the actions of you and others around your child have an impact upon their mental health. Developing a supportive environment in which open and honest communication is encouraged is a great start, as well as:

  1. Observing behaviour changes – keep an eye out for behaviour changes which could mean something is happening. Being withdrawn and isolating from friends and family, not wanting to participate in activities and avoiding routines are signs that things may not be going well. Check in with your child and see if you can help.
  2. Keep to a routine – changes and surprises can be anxiety provoking for some children. Keeping a daily routine which remains similar can help reduce anxiety, as can having a written or image-based schedule on display.
  3. Provide positive feedback – regularly praise and encourage your child, letting them know you are proud of them. By feeling supported, accepted, and valued, self-esteem grows and so does a sense of well-being.
  4. Make home a safe place – home needs to be somewhere a child feels 100% comfortable and safe. This includes the physical environment of the home, screen time accessed, conversations to your child and those they overhear, and people within and visiting the home. Your child’s mental health can be significantly impacted upon from negative home experiences and environments, as can that of others in the family. If you feel or are unsafe, please seek help.
  5. Encourage and participate in regular exercise – physical activity is so important for kids and adults alike. A great way to learn new skills, have fun, get healthy and boost those endorphins!
  6. Be a role model – be a positive role model and show to your kids how you handle tough situations. Discuss and demonstrate how skills such as deep breathing, going for a walk, playing with stress balls and talking with others can help improve a child’s mental health and well-being.

There are many great resources available within NZ you can reach out to for further support for you and your family, including the Mental Health Foundation, 0800 What’s Up, SPARX and Skylight.

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