7.1% of children aged 3-17 have been diagnosed with anxiety, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, because mental health can be a difficult subject to talk about, creating a positive environment where your child feels comfortable discussing their experiences at home can help. Whether you’re new to the idea entirely or wish to work on developing healthy routines that positively contribute to mental health from the get-go, here are just a few ways you can get started.
Why a healthy bedtime routine matters
Establishing healthy habits in your home is an effective way to boost your child’s mental well being right from the start. Making sure that your child is getting enough sleep each night is just one way to do this — especially if their sleep schedule is already erratic and their mood tends to suffer throughout the day because of it. While it might sound insignificant, sleep is a vital factor when looking after mental well being since the brain and mood are closely linked. That said, cutting down your child’s sugar intake at an appropriate time and putting a regular bedtime in place can all contribute to establishing a healthy bedtime routine.
Establishing an open line of communication
While recognizing the signs of poor mental health in your child (such as a change in behavior or mood), establishing an open line of communication is an absolute must for any parent who wishes to create a safe space for mental health discussion at home. Giving your child positive encouragement and reassuring them that they can come to you with any mental health struggles is a great way to do this. Moreover, you can go even further by showing them that it’s okay to talk about feelings by talking about your own emotions appropriately. This can not only let them know that it’s more than okay to share their own feelings and experiences, but can reassure them that they’re not alone and allow you to start a positive dialogue regarding the matter.
Despite being widespread among children and adults alike, mental health issues like stress and anxiety are often overlooked and not talked about at home. However, by establishing an open line of communication and implementing healthy habits — like a solid bedtime routine, you can cultivate a safe space for mental health right at home.