Mental health amongst children is becoming an increasingly common concern in the UK. A lack of research, coupled with poor handling of mental health issues amongst children means that different solutions are needed if we are to boost the mental health of our children. If you feel like your child is struggling, there are some things that you can do to address the problem at home. Try these mental health boosters for children suggestions which can help improve their mental health and wellbeing.
Mental health boosters for children
There are many tips available to help you boost the mental health of your children, without making it obvious that you’re trying to treat them differently.
Build healthy bodies as well as healthy minds
You may not think it, but what we eat can affect our mental health and this is also true in children. Sugars and carbohydrates can make us feel more energised, but the effect is short-lived, leaving us grumpy and irritable afterwards. Slow-burning carbohydrates such as sweet potato and brown rice, pasta and oats can help burn energy for longer. Make sure your child has enough of these throughout the day to keep energy levels up and to stop that post-meal slump. A diet rich in protein, fruit and vegetables and essential fats such as those found in oily fish can also help.
Exercise is also important for young people, and there a lot of studies which confirm this. Many types of exercise act as effective mental health boosters for children, working as well as antidepressants or other forms of treatments. Encouraging group exercise (walking the dog for example) as a family or helping children to get involved in a team sport not only fulfils their exercise requirements but also proves to be a good self-esteem booster as well.
Talk to them
Sometimes it can be difficult to understand what is affecting your child’s mental health, as they can be reluctant to talk about the things that bother them. However, talking to your child about their problems can not only help you understand them, but can help them to talk through their problems too. Much like you would do with friends or colleagues, helping them talk it through can help lift a lot of weight from their shoulders.
Help them to help others
Encouraging children to be charitable and help others can help to boost their mental health, making them happier overall. By helping those less fortunate, they can also learn that other people have problems and concerns, which may make them feel less alone in how they are feeling. Young Minds has some great ideas on how children can get involved in helping others, with some possible from the comfort of their own homes.
Make sure they take some ‘me time’
As adults, we understand the importance of me time, and children need that too. We may lament the days when we were children and life seemed to be care-free, but today’s children face all sorts of pressures that cause them just as much stress as we suffer from work, home, etc. Making sure children take a break from schoolwork, chores and other commitments is important. Help them to find a relaxing hobby they can enjoy such as crafts, playing a musical instrument or a sport to give them a bit of breathing space and to focus on something they enjoy for a while.
There’s a lot of doom and gloom in the world, and the internet and social media makes it even harder to avoid. What’s going on in the news can really affect our children, who become concerned or worried or even depressed because of it. While having an interest in news and current affairs is important for children, it’s important that they see some positivity too. Daily Good, Huffington Post and the Good News Network are all great websites for finding positive news to help balance out the negative stories we see every day.
Dealing with children’s mental health can be difficult, but it’s important that you show your support and are open to their feelings. Mental health issues amongst children are more common than you think, and there are many resources online to help you cope. You can find some more information on mental health boosters for children from Young Minds, the UK’s leading mental health charity for children and young people.