What is Mental Health
We all have mental health. Mental health is about our feelings, our thinking, our emotions and our moods. Looking after our mental health is important. We all have ‘small’ feelings every day. These sometimes feel strong and overwhelming, whether happy or sad, but they go away before too long. Sometimes we experience ‘big’ feelings: These feel strong and overwhelming for a long time. They stop us doing what we want to in our lives. You could watch the video below to help think about these feelings.
How can help my child’s mental health?
1. Make conversations about mental health a normal part of life: Anywhere is a good place to talk; in the car, walking the dog or cooking together. Model everyday talk about feelings such as by talking about a TV character’s feelings.
2. Give your full attention: We all know it’s horrible to be half listened to. Keep eye contact, focus on the child and ignore distractions.
3. Check your body language: Try to keep it open and relaxed and make sure you come down to the child’s level.
4. Take it seriously: Don’t downplay what the child is saying or tell them they’re “just being silly”. Resist the urge to reassure them that everything is fine.
5. Ask open questions: Such as “How did your day go today?” This will help to extend the conversation.
6. Calmly stay with the feelings that arise: It can be our automatic reaction to steer away from difficult emotions.
7. Offer empathy rather than solutions: Show that you accept what they are telling you but don’t try to solve the problem.
8. Remember we are all different: Respect and value the child’s feelings, even though they may be different to yours.
9. Look for clues about feelings: Listen to the child’s words, tone of voice and body language.
10. Some ways to start a conversation about feelings might be: “How are you feeling at the moment?” “You don’t seem your usual self. Do you want to talk about it?” “I’m happy to listen if you need a chat.”
This 'Calm Me Time' link comes from our JIGSAW program, where we teach your children how to have a few minutes peaceful time. We think it may be useful for any family member to listen to and help them to relax and let go of their worries or concerns.
Just click on the link and listen.