5 Ways to Support Your Child’s Mental Health

Raising children is a journey filled with love, joy, and, yes, worry. We naturally want the best for our kids, and in today’s world, good mental health practices are more important than ever. While you can’t solve all your child’s problems, you can make sure they have coping skills and resilience to navigate tough times. Lyra Health is here for you with providers and services for kids and teens as well as adults.

#1 Have regular check-ins

Create a routine of checking in with your children regularly even when everything seems OK. Don’t just talk about their day, ask about how they’re feeling. For example, “How are you feeling today? Anything on your mind that you want to talk about?” This goes further than just asking how their day was. Really listen instead of thinking of what you’re going to say next. Validate their experience without trying to downplay or fix it.

Even if your child resists or struggles to articulate their feelings at first, routinely checking in can build a foundation of trust and openness. It’s OK to start small and work up to more in-depth discussions. For example, if your teen seems closed off, you could ask about their favorite TV show or a recent school event before transitioning into more sensitive topics.

#2 Guide them through challenges

Growing up is full of transitions and challenges – like starting a new school, dealing with peer pressure, or coping with family changes, your support can make a difference. Reassure and guide your kids by creating a home environment where mistakes are seen as opportunities for growth rather than reasons for shame.

#3 Teach key skills

Empowering your child to champion their mental health is a skill that will serve them throughout their lives. Teach them about the importance of self-care practices such as mindfulness, exercise, and healthy coping skills. Encourage them to set boundaries and prioritize their well-being, even in the face of peer pressure or expectations. You can model this. For example, pointing out that you turned down an extra work project or a party invitation because you were feeling stretched and irritable without time to relax and recharge the way you know you need to.

#4 Model positive mental health

Show your child how to prioritize mental well-being by openly sharing your feelings and modeling healthy ways to handle stress, like taking breaks, leaning on family and friends for support, or seeing a mental health professional. By setting an example of self-care and seeking support, you’re teaching them that it’s normal to ask for help and take care of themselves, which can help them with life’s ups and downs.

#5 Get professional support

Parents aren’t expected to have all the answers and sometimes kids are more willing to open up to someone else. Therapy offers a safe space where your child can explore their feelings, learn coping skills, and build resilience. To support your child’s mental health, Lyra provides teen counseling and parent coaching, helping you become an even stronger ally in their journey.

Signs of mental health issues in kids

While every child is unique, there are common signs that may indicate they’re struggling with their mental health. Some children may show noticeable symptoms, while others may struggle silently. Trust your instincts; if something feels off, it’s worth exploring.

Signs of mental distress in young children can look like:

  • Frequent tantrums or intense irritability
  • Excessive fearfulness or worry
  • Complaints about stomachaches or headaches without a medical cause
  • Constant motion or inability to sit quietly
  • Sleeping too much, too little, frequent nightmares, or daytime sleepiness
  • Lack of interest in playing with other children or difficulty making friends
  • Academic struggles or a decline in grades
  • Repetitive actions or checking behaviors

Signs of mental distress in older children:

  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Low energy levels
  • Sleeping too much, too little, or daytime sleepiness
  • Periods of highly elevated energy and activity, or requiring less sleep than usual
  • Avoiding social activities with friends or family
  • Excessive dieting or exercising, or fear of gaining weight
  • Self-harm behaviors such as cutting or burning
  • Substance use
  • Risky or destructive behaviors
  • Thoughts of suicide

Empower good mental health in your child

Just as a medical professional cares for your child’s physical health, a mental health professional nurtures their emotional well-being, teaching them tools to thrive and enjoy life.

Help your child prioritize their mental health

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By The Lyra Team
13 of June 2024 - 3 min read
Mental health tips
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