Mental health is an important topic, and it’s one that’s often left out of the conversation. But talking to your kids about mental health can help them develop good habits and understand themselves better. Here are some tips for getting started:
Start by talking to your kids about their feelings.
One of the most important things you can do when it comes to teaching your kids about mental health is to start with yourself. The more open you are about your own feelings, the easier it will be for them to talk with you about theirs. If they see that it’s okay for their parents and other adults around them to have feelings like anger and sadness, they’ll be less likely to think those feelings are wrong or bad.
If a child has a hard time expressing themselves verbally (for example, if they are autistic), then try asking them how they would like others understand what they’re feeling instead of asking “how do you feel?” You might say something like: “I’m noticing that sometimes when people get mad at each other during games or sports practices it makes everyone feel sad because no one wants everyone else mad at each other.” Then ask whether there is anything else besides being mad at each other which might make someone feel sad? Maybe someone was really excited about playing their favorite sport but now feels disappointed because everyone was arguing instead of playing together as a team.”
Talk about how we all have a mental health.
- Talk about how we all have a mental health.
- Mental health is a continuum, not an either/or thing. It’s important to understand that mental health isn’t just the absence of mental illness, but a spectrum of emotions, thoughts and behaviors that are healthy or unhealthy for each individual person. This can mean feeling happy most days and having good relationships with others; it could also mean having low moods once in awhile but being able to get through them without needing help from others (for example). It’s important not to assume that someone who seems happy must therefore be “well”–because many people with mental illnesses look fine on the outside too!
Let kids know that it’s okay to ask for help.
It’s important for kids to know that it’s okay to ask for help if they are feeling sad, anxious or worried. It can be scary to bring up these feelings with someone else but it is critical that they do so in order to get the support they need. Parents can role model this by sharing their own experiences with mental health issues and how they dealt with them. If a family member has struggled with mental illness, then it is even more important for parents not only talk about their experience but also provide reassurance that this does not mean there is something wrong with them as a person (or their child).
Parents should also encourage kids’ interests outside of school–whether it’s sports teams or other activities like dance classes–so they have other outlets besides academics where success comes naturally without pressure from peers or teachers who might judge performance based on self-esteem rather than achievement alone
Be open about your own mental health struggles.
If you’re a parent and you have struggled with mental health, it’s important to be open about your own experiences. This helps kids feel more comfortable talking about their own struggles. Kids need to know that mental health is just as important as physical health and that they are not alone in their struggles–adults can be role models for this kind of openness and honesty.
Model good self-care habits for your kids.
Model good self-care habits for your kids.
It’s important to model healthy self-care habits, especially if you have a child who is struggling with mental health issues. If they see you taking time each day to relax and unwind, they’ll be more likely to do the same thing themselves.
Make time to unwind and de-stress yourself every day.
It’s important to remember that you are a role model for your child, and if you’re stressed out or tired all the time, they will be too. So take some time every day to unwind and de-stress yourself.
If this is new for you, it can be hard to know where to start with de-stressing techniques. A good place would be meditation or mindfulness exercises–you don’t need an expensive course or guru; there are plenty of free apps available online and YouTube videos that will teach simple ways of meditating (and they don’t involve sitting cross-legged on the floor). Other ideas include going for walks in nature; practicing yoga; listening to music; reading a book; cooking something healthy from scratch instead of ordering takeout (the process itself will help take away some stress); taking up coloring books as an activity with your kids…the list goes on!
It’s important to teach kids mental health early so they can learn healthy habits that will last them a lifetime
It’s important to teach kids mental health early so they can learn healthy habits that will last them a lifetime.
It can be hard to talk about mental health, but it’s crucial that we do so with our children. As parents, we want our kids to grow up in a happy and safe environment, which means teaching them about how their minds work and how they can take care of themselves mentally.
We hope these tips help you start the conversation with your kids and teach them about mental health. As we said before, it’s important to get started early and keep talking about it so they will be more likely to seek help when they need it in the future.