As a Holistic Therapist my clients and their families are very important to me, including their mental health. This week is Children’s Mental Health week so I thought it would be a good time to share some tips I’ve learnt to help support and nourish young people’s mental health. In 2020 children’s charity Place2Be highlighted that 1 in 8 children and young people had a diagnosable mental health problem. I can only assume that, bearing in mind the past year we have all experienced, these statistics are still high. Whether you have young children or teenagers you may find these tips of use. I try to adopt these with my own children.
Be a role model – Try to show the importance of looking after yourself, getting good sleep, eating well, exercising etc. Highlight the positive impact all of these things can have on your mental health.
Autonomy – Give them some autonomy to make their own decisions (within reason). Let them be in control.
Actively listen – Not just listen, but actively listen to what they are saying (and also what they are not saying). Be present and give them your whole attention.
Rest time – Encourage down time, time to rest, play, relax, be creative. Don’t put too much pressure on them.
Routine – Children like and thrive on some sort of routine. It helps them feel safe and assured.
Encourage – Celebrate the small wins and successes, praise and support them.
Get involved – Take an interest in what they are doing, their school work, hobbies, interests.
Positive relationships – Encourage positive relationships with friends and family.
Coping strategies – Teach them techniques to help feel calm and relaxed i.e. breathing techniques and progressive muscle relaxation – both of which will help relieve tension (check out my previous article on ‘Five ways to ease stress right now’)
Behavioural changes – Be aware of any changes in their behaviour.
Positive environment – Provide a positive, safe home environment where they feel loved and valued.
Involve them – Encourage them to get involved with things around the house i.e. cooking dinner, baking, exercise, gardening, watching a film.
Seek help – Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help. There shouldn’t be any shame in this. We never know when we might need the help, support and guidance of others and as the saying goes – ‘A problem shared, is a problem halved’. Also, look at who your support network of friends and family are, confide in those that you trust. It’s important to remember that we are all in this together. We shouldn’t have to battle through on our own.
Lastly – Help them to understand that it’s ok to not feel ok and help is available.
I hope this has been of some use.