Your child’s mental health is just as important as their physical health, and there are ways you can help nurture it.
Teaching your children self-care plays a vital part in their future health and happiness.
Here are six simple but effective ways to encourage positive mental health in your child.
Table of Contents
1. Introduce Boundaries
Boundaries can help us deal with life’s struggles, and teaching your children to set and respect them can help them deal with the stressors that can affect their mental health.
You can teach these boundaries by setting routines, limits, and structure while respecting the boundaries of others.
Limits on screen time, playtime rules, and behavior expectations can affect the consequences your child may face when crossing those boundaries. By having these boundaries, you can show the importance of taking care of yourself and communicating well in society. These skills are crucial for maintaining your child’s mental health as they grow.
Teach your children that boundaries are meant to preserve their physical and emotional health and encourage them to start setting boundaries for things and people.
2. Help Them Build Human Interaction
Many kids socialize these days through internet games and chatrooms. That’s not necessarily bad, but when that’s all the outside social interaction your child gets, it could affect their mental health.
Humans are social creatures, and even introverts need physical interaction to thrive. When your child has no free opportunities to socialize and build relationships with other people in a physical space, it could lead to isolation and loneliness.
You likely won’t always be in the same area as your child, so they must gain these interaction skills to communicate and build positive relationships.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is as important for adults as it is for kids. The right amount of protein, fruits, veggies, and grains help your children get the nourishment they need to grow and develop.
A healthy diet can improve mental well-being, increasing mental alertness and clarity. Meanwhile, an unhealthy diet can affect neurotransmitter production and increase symptoms of depression and anxiety.
By eating a healthy diet, you are setting your kids up to continue healthy habits into adulthood, helping them maintain their mental well-being. You may also notice a positive difference in your mental health if your family pursues a healthier diet.
4. Get Moving
As mentioned, many modern kids’ socialization and recreation happen through online mediums. However, this makes our kids vulnerable to a sedentary lifestyle.
The internet can connect us like never before, but getting out and exercising is still important to keep a healthy body and mind.
Exercise doesn’t have to be push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks. It can also mean trying out a new sport, taking the dogs on a walk, or doing TikTok dances. Anything that gets their bodies moving can release dopamine, a feel-good hormone that can regulate their mood.
Exercising outside also gives your children natural light exposure, which can increase their vitamin D levels. Sufficient vitamin D can mitigate the symptoms of depression.
Going to a playground, swimming at an outdoor pool, or visiting a winter ice rink can all help your children get fresh air, sunshine, and healthier bodies.
5. Encourage Healthy Sleep Patterns
Another thing that plays a large role in mental health is how much sleep your child receives. Both children and adults need the right amount of sleep to have energy, mental clarity, and feel good.
However, for children, sleep is a central part of brain development necessary to process the events and lessons from the day. Lack of sleep can lead to behavior and mood disorders and exasperate symptoms of a mental illness they already have.
Teach your children the importance of sleep and help them develop a bedtime routine that helps them relax and prepare for a good night’s rest. Try to remove screen time at least two hours before going to bed, as blue light exposure can hinder their ability to sleep.
A good bedtime routine could include reading, taking a warm bath, and getting into nice pajamas. It’s also a good time to teach your child about proper hygiene, like brushing their teeth.
6. Talk to Someone
If you feel like your child is struggling with their mental health, it’s important to seek advice from a professional that you trust.
Early intervention is the key to managing childhood mental illness and helping them move forward.
If your child has trouble regulating their mood, seems deeply sad, or cannot function daily, speak to their pediatrician about mental health care.
There is no shame in getting your child professional mental health treatment when needed.
Be sure to speak with your doctors regarding any necessary medications and the possible benefits for your child.
Helping Your Child’s Mental Health
Your child’s mental health is important to staying happy and healthy. By being proactive and helping them set up positive habits, you can help them manage their mental health in adulthood.