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.”