Our 10 Tips for positive mental health are a perfect way to end children’s mental health week. Working on our children’s or our own mental health should not end with this week. Teaching our children positive ways to look after their mental health should be a main focus of parenting and education. Because of this, we have came up with 10 ways we can help our children make this possible!
We thought we should start with this year’s “children’s mental health awareness” week’s theme of “let’s connect”. As you will see from their reasoning behind choosing this theme, connection is so important! Connecting with friends and family members does not only boost our mood, it also creates confidence in being able to discuss feelings and teaches empathy. There is also evidence to suggest it can heal a person’s brain from trauma, which is a fantastic example of how valuable making and maintaining connections are.
2. Laugh together
Laughter truly is good for the soul! And children don’t only love laughing themselves, they love seeing us laugh and smile. Life can be full of fun when you laugh together and see the funny sides of situations. It does not only boost connections, but also reducing the stress hormone, cortisol and is an emotional release!
3. Cry together
Just like laughing together, crying together is also healthy! It is important to teach that all emotions are good for us and help us understand how we feel about a situation. Holding in emotions that can be perceived as negative such as anger, sadness and jealousy, can cause depression and make the emotions intensify. Instead teach children to explore why they feel these emotions and healthy, positive ways to express them.
4. Get moving
Exercise is an example of a healthy way to respond to emotions such as anger and can give us time to reflect on our feelings. Exercise also releases happy hormones (endorphins) into our brain, helping us feel more positive. Some fun easy ways to get moving could be to go for a walk, dance to some music or play a game of football.
5. Eat healthy
Brain healthy foods that contain omega 3 such as nuts and fish can help maintain a healthy brain. Fruits and vegetables are also beneficial in supporting healthy brain development.
Taking time out to meditate, read or just relax with something you enjoy can make you feel fulfilled. It is important that children and adults take time in the day to relax and do something they enjoy.
7. Find purpose and meaning
Similar to how adults feel fulfilled and of value when they have responsibility and something to work towards, children also can feel purpose this way. You could help children by helping them create targets they would like to work towards and by giving them age appropriate responsibilities.
8. Listen to what your body needs
It can be beneficial to listen to your senses. Sometimes you may need to go somewhere that is completely silent, sometimes you may need to go for a walk and listen to the birds. You may need to exercise or you may need to relax and not move a muscle. It is important to listen to what we need and take some time out when we need to.
Sleep is so beneficial for mental health and overal brain development. Similar to adults, if children don’t get enough sleep they can feel moody and irratable and may not respond in ways they usually do. Sleep for children is also extremely important for brain development and children need a lot more sleep that others. One way to support healthy sleeping is simple mouth exercises that prevent snoring. because snoring can prevent you and others from having a peaceful nights sleep. Sometimes it’s as simple as having a full good night’s sleep that can greatly improve yours and your child’s mood and mental well-being. Combating snoring is a perfect way to support sleep.
10. Ask for help
If you try all of the above and still need help and support for yourself or your child, you can seek professional support. Organisations such as mind and the NSPCC can help support young people with mental health. If you speak to your doctor you may also be able to access counselling support for children or adults.
If you enjoyed these tips, why not check out our post about how bird watching can benefit mental health.