Good morning folks,
This week was World Mental Health Week. Some of the classes in HETNS have done some work on looking after your mental health this week. Here is some further information for parents.
Did you know that half of all mental health issues begin to develop in children under the age of 14? That’s a scary thought. However, there is much we can do to help improve our children’s mental health, as well as our own too. Here are 15 practical steps:
Central to these steps are some important themes:
1. Focus on the positive – Teach your child to think about the things that they can do well, that make them happy; rather than focusing on things they can’t do. They could write happy thoughts down in a diary, or just talk about them before bed time.
2. Exercise is important – Exercise will not cure all of life’s problems! However, as part of a well balanced lifestyle, it can improve mental health significantly. Some of the benefits include: less tension, less stress, less mental fatigue, more energy, improved sleep, a sense of achievement, focus in life and motivation, less anger or frustration, a healthy appetite, better social life, and most importantly, having fun!
3. Mindful Moments – Life is so busy and so much time now is spent looking at screens. However, it is important to limit screen time. Have some quiet time each day where your child can just think, when they can listen to their thoughts and ‘check in’ with themselves. Quiet time like this is especially useful before bed time.
4. Spend time with each other – There is nothing more important than family. So allocate some family time every day where you enjoy each other’s company. Whether that’s eating dinner together, going for a walk, baking some treats or just having a chat, make sure you spend time with each other to hear about each other’s day. Nothing beats having a bit of family fun!
5. Diet – The food with which you fuel your child affects their mental health. Foods high in sugar will give short, large energy boosts to children. This means they will be full of energy for a little while and then experience an energy dump; their mood, concentration and energy levels fluctuate throughout the day. It is very difficult for children to concentrate at these extremes: when they are hyper or when they are on a low. Healthy food will help to release energy in a slow and steady way over the course of a day. This means their mood and concentration levels will be steady, having a more positive impact on mental health.