7 Proven Ways to Support Your Child's Mental Health at Home
On May 25th of 2021 Children's Hospital Colorado declared a 'State of Emergency for youth mental health.
A quote taken from an article on their website regarding the matter:
"Right now, Colorado's children uniquely need our help," Hausmann said. "It has been devastating to see suicide become the leading cause of death for Colorado’s children. For over a decade, Children’s Colorado has intentionally and thoughtfully been expanding our pediatric mental health prevention services, outpatient services and inpatient services, but it is not enough. Now we are seeing our pediatric emergency departments and our inpatient units overrun with kids attempting suicide and suffering from other forms of major mental health illness."
Certainly a parent's worst nightmare... Unfortunately in these times, many parents feel that so many pressures on their child are not in their immediate control. And this isn't just for parents of teens. This tension is being felt by parents of all ages of children.
I have taken surveys from several parent groups and found that parents are truly doing the best they can, but there is a high need for more resources and more support from their community. It truly does take a village!
That is why as your Parent Coach, I have compiled a list of things you can do to help support your child's mental health. While we may feel like so much is out of our control, we can shift our focus onto where we CAN make a BIG difference. And that starts in your home!
1. Less screen time, more face to face time.
Too much screen time is linked to social and emotional problems. The good news is that face to face time is linked to much more positive outcomes in the short term and the long term!
2. Less lectures, more questions.
This is a concept we teach in the Love and Logic class. Basically, we can stifle our child's problem solving skills and self esteem by indulging in long lectures about their poor behavior. However, if we approach these situations with more curiosity and allow them to process through what happened, we set a stage for better conflict resolution skills in the future.
3. Less meals on the go, and more around the family table
This is something many families feel is nearly impossible these days, but it is SO important. The conversations that happen around the dinner table can provide stability for children. Quick tip: family meals don't always have to be at dinner time! They can be just as beneficial during breakfast, lunch, or even snack time. Check out this short video on this topic!
4. Less worry vibes, more happy vibes
As parents we have the ability to create an "oasis" in our home. We can choose turn the media off, keep a routine, and keep the vibe upbeat and happy. There may be chaos all around and we certainly cannot shelter our children from everything, but we can choose what our home environment looks and feels like.
5. Less chaos, more routine
Routines offer stability and security for children. Read here for some suggestions on how to start each day off well!
6. Less time inside, more time outside
Children need outdoor play! Actually, we all do. Be sure to make outside time a priority. It's even better if it's a family affair!
7. Less over-compensating, more empowering
I recently listened to a really great podcast on childhood anxieties and how we can help our children overcome them. When our children are anxious, we tend to offer "accommodations", thinking we are helping them. Sadly, this can create a cycle that makes their worries grow. Dr. Eli Lebowtiz has some wonderful insight on this topic. You can listen here!
I hope you find these tips encouraging. As always, I'm here for you on this parenting journey! Feel free to reach out anytime.
Little Otter is a website offering personalized online mental health care for children 0-12, designed by the world experts in childhood mental health and delivered fully virtually through our state of the art platform to the comfort of your home.
You can simply go to their site, take a brief quiz about you and your child, and then a list of action steps and activities are recommended for your unique situation! Click here to take a look!