Home > Employee Assistance Program > EAP for Employers > How to Encourage Good Mental Health in Children
As a parent, you’re worried about your child’s wellbeing, including their mental health, but sometimes, it can be hard to know how to help. Below are a few suggestions on how to help your child’s mental health.
Build trust with your child. Your child needs to know they can turn to you if they have any issues. Encourage your child to tell you when something is wrong and explain that you will listen to them without interrupting. No matter the situation, it’s important to stay calm and collected so your child can feel they have a safe place to talk. Your home should be their safe haven.
Provide a consistent lifestyle. As your child develops, they are already going through a lot of changes and discovering the world. By having a consistent home life, they can depend on feeling comfortable, safe and happy. For example, if you have a family meal every night, make sure to always have that time because it’s time spent as a family where you can talk, laugh and eat great food. Going through a different schedule or changes as a child, such as a parent’s divorce, can alter how much a child communicates with you, so try to have a consistent lifestyle your child can depend on.
Encourage them. Whether it’s using positive comments, showing up at their events, or supporting them financially and emotionally, your child looks to you for encouragement, dependability and leadership. They look to you to know if they’re doing a good job in life. Bringing them down, discouraging their interests or complaining isn’t going to build a healthy self-esteem. Your child needs your support to feel loved and safe.
Take your child to therapy. If you’re noticing red flags that you don’t know how to help with, that’s OK! Just as you would take your child to your primary care provider if they were feeling sick, you should take them to a child’s psychologist when their mental health is in question. If your child doesn’t want to talk to you about their feelings, a therapist may be able to help them by understanding the issue, finding a resolution and providing coping mechanisms. Plus, they can help you learn how to communicate and support your child.
If you or your child are ever in need of professional support, please call Mercy EAP at (319) 398-6694 to schedule a video, phone or in-person appointment.