Today is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day! How aware, how attentive are you to your child or teen’s development? As a therapist who works with children and adolescents, I spend most of my days interacting and assessing children, tweens and teens. Each child is unique and grows and meets milestones at their own pace. Friends, family and parents of the clients I see often ask me, “Is my child’s behavior normal?” “What can I do to help them deal with x” Parents want their children to be happy and healthy. I always recommend that parents be aware of general developmental milestones, and if they notice something or their gut is telling them something is off, for them to seek out help. That help could be talking to their pediatrician or seeking out a mental health evaluation.
What we do know, is that families, parents, & adult caregivers can make the greatest impact on the development of their child(ren) during the first few years of their lives. How can you nurture your kids’ mental health?
* Encourage healthy self esteem by praising and recognizing when they are working hard. Parents can also show interest in their activities, and show their support.
* Building solid relationships by having having someone they know they can go to if they need help, having one on one time with their caregiver to build healthy attachments.
* Show how to solve problems, instead of fixing the problems for them.
* Being present (turning off electronics), and listening to what they have to say, and how they feel. If they are having trouble putting feelings to their thoughts, help walk them through it by talking about possible solutions.
* Create a healthy environment by limiting electronics, aggressive behaviors & adult conversations.
Nurturing your children’s mental health can be exhausting at times, but well worth the effort.
This might be helpful for some parents: Parent Timeline