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Good mental health for children
Good mental health for children

Children’s mental health: what is it?

Mental health is the way children think or feel about themselves and the world around them. It’s related to how children cope with life’s challenges and stresses.

Relationships and good mental health for children

A strong relationship with you directly and positively affects your child’s mental health.

Here are some ideas to promote your child’s mental health and wellbeing through a loving and supportive relationship:

  • Tell your child that you love him, no matter what. You can also show him love through your body language and nonverbal communication – and by giving him lots of cuddles too!
  • Praise and encourage your child when she does something well or behaves in a way that you like.
  • Make time every day to talk and listen to your child. If your child wants to talk, try to stop what you’re doing and give him your full attention.
  • Enjoy time with your child. The best way to do this is by spending time doing things that your child likes – for example, reading together, kicking a ball, drawing, playing board games and so on.
  • Work on positive ways to solve problems and manage conflict between you and your partner, with your child and among other family members.
  • Encourage your child to connect with others in the community – for example, waving and chatting to neighbours, attending local festivals or helping out at a community garden. This gives your child a stronger sense of her place in the world and helps her learn how to relate to different people.

Behaviour, goals, skills and good mental health for children

Here are ways to promote your child’s mental health and wellbeing through a focus on behaviour:

  • Have clear rules about behaviour and involve your child in developing rules and consequences. Adjust the rules and consequences as your child grows.
  • Help your child to set realistic goals for her age and abilities and work towards achieving them – for example, riding a bike without training wheels.
  • Help your child learn how to solve problems so that he develops the skills to do this for himself when he’s older. For example, you can help your child work out what the problem is, brainstorm possible solutions, and choose a solution to put into action.
  • Encourage your child to try new things, take age-appropriate risks, and learn from her mistakes. This could be things like trying a new sport, entering a drawing competition, speaking in front of her class, climbing new equipment at the playground and so on.

Make sure your child has a healthy balance of screen time and other activities that are good for his development. This includes socialising with family and friends, being physically active, reading and being creative.

 

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