Nurturing a healthy mental attitude is an integral part of caring for kids’ mental health no matter if mental illness affects them directly or indirectly. Helping kids develop and maintain a positive mindset is key for establishing their ability to cope with, and adapt to, changes and challenges they experience during fundamental years of growth.
To support kids’ mental health, we can highlight its challenges as learning opportunities through self-care. Self-care can boost kids’ mentalities, particularly their confidence and self-esteem, which in turn can improve their relationship with themselves as well as others.
Here are self-care tips to support kid’s mental health and help them develop a positive mindset:
Use emotional intelligence to encourage open conversations.
It’s completely possible for kids to experience bouts of poor mental health and not have a
mental illness diagnosis. But to be our kids’ biggest supporters, it’s important to talk to them about identifying and managing emotions.
To have the most effective conversations, it’s vital to make the subject matter as comfortable as possible. Do so by exploring kids’ mental health resources that are relatable and age-appropriate. Podcasts, where other kids share their own experiences with mental health, are great mediums that use empathy to help our own kids feel understood and unashamed, thus developing the courage to talk about their feelings.
As adults, it’s important to remember that we’ve been there before! Our kids don’t have all of our life experiences yet, so take this opportunity to guide them and not alienate them.
Manifest resilience through problem-solving.
Once kids are comfortable identifying their thoughts and emotions, they will begin to search for ways to manage them. After all, feelings are messages telling us action is needed.
To guide our kids’ mental health even further, we can offer support by equipping them with the skills to develop their own problem-solving capabilities. For instance, if kids are anxious about a situation, ask “how” questions such as, “how would [someone they trust or look up to] handle this?” When adapting to difficult situations, kids who are empowered to find solutions become resilient and in turn build a better sense of confidence. Problem-solving can also be a great team building opportunity; whether it’s child and parent, child and sibling, or child and friend.
Find opportunities to work through things together and make it a memorable experience.
Recognize the importance of self-love.
When kids are secure with themselves, they accept themselves and others for who they truly are, which helps combat the stigma of “being less than” that is commonly associated with kids’ mental health. To instill self-acceptance, help kids discover and value their own unique traits. Encourage them to make a list of things they are strong at, like drawing, dancing, reading, or even a favorite school subject. To dig deeper, empower kids to identify positive traits they like about themselves, such as being a caring friend or making other people laugh.
But don’t forget to teach children to embrace the things about themselves that they cannot change. Let’s face it, being a kid is hard. It can often be a confusing time of trying to figure yourself out and establishing your self-worth. So be patient and be sure to be there to help your kids every step of the way!
Check out more positive parenting tips can empower kids to take their challenges with ease.