Advice

Good Mental Health Habits Which Help Kids Handle all That Life can Bring


Mental health and emotional well-being are an essential part of a child’s development. At different stages of life, our children will face challenges and setbacks. In fact, these challenges may be part of why you moved to Homeschool. Regardless, they are a normal part of growing up, whether in mainstream school or Homeschooling. To support them and help them to gain some positive benefits from negative situations, it’s important to help them develop some healthy habits. Research shows that doing this will set them up to be more adaptable and therefore be more emotionally resilient through life experiences.

Here are some tips on how you can support good mental health habits in your kids:

Get Moving to Feel Good

Regular exercise is not only important for physical health; it can have a significant impact on mental health, too. Physical activity releases endorphins and serotonin which are chemicals that can help make us feel good. Exercise doesn’t have to be challenging, it can include fun family activities like kicking a ball around in the park, going for a swim, or just walking to the shops instead of driving. In all Grade levels PE is a weekly lesson, but no need to be limited to that. Adaption is always the key, if it’s hot and you would rather go swimming, go for it. A weekly swim will certainly tick off the PE aspect of your week. Research has also shown that active participation in a sports team has a positive effect on mental health and can boost self-confidence.

A Good Night’s Sleep

Sleeping well is another important factor in maintaining mental health and wellbeing in kids. Yes, it can be a challenge with teens, especially as they begin to take ownership over their own time. Discussing sleep and allowing them to help with a plan is vital. Sleep is the body’s time to recover, recharge and get ready for the next day. Ensuring a good night’s sleep can be helped by following some simple steps like: sticking to the same bedtime routine every day, avoiding screen time before bed (not so easy with teens – but having them take at least 15 min after screen time to get ready and quiet the brain is helpful), ensuring a child’s bedroom is comfortable and cosy, and doing relaxing activities before bed.

Stress Management

Stress has many good attributes; it reminds us that we care and it connects us directly with the most challenging and important aspects of our lives. In fact, the goal of the stress response is to help boost the body and mind into enhanced functioning so we could learn and grow to be able to meet the demands we might face.

However, we need to be able to teach our kids the difference between healthy stress and being too ‘stressed out’. It’s always handy to have one strategy to turn to when we feel our stress levels rising. Some good strategies to teach our kids include learning to take slow, deep breaths to provide extra oxygen and lower the heart rate; or going for a walk to remove themselves from the stressful situation.

Downtime is Vital

Children, especially younger children, need time to relax away from electronic devices. Downtime and bored time are necessary for a child’s development. This is different to being occupied by electronic games or television, as it gives a child the freedom to explore, be creative and learn to rely on themselves. It is not uncommon for boredom to lead to some of the best fun. Young ones can turn a boring rainy day into a time to build indoor cubby houses. Teens may be more encouraged to try a new hobby, if bored. So don’t let the “I’m BORED” statement rock you, ease into it in a short space of time and see what happens.

Make Time for Friends and Family

In this day and age, it is a challenge to spend quality time as a family, but as Homeschoolers, we are in such an enviable spot. Making time for this is just part of our lives, and it comes with huge benefits. Children who spend quality time with their families have more self-confidence and are more sociable because they sense their parents value them. An easy way to spend quality time together as a family is to ensure that dinner time is free of distractions such as TV, video games and mobile phones.

Practice What you Preach

All of the tips given above can be applied to parents, too. It’s important to look after yourself as a parent so you can provide support for your children. Showing your child that you are willing and open to looking after yourself will also encourage them to be more positive about looking after themselves, too.

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