October 10th is World Mental Health Day! In the aftermath of the pandemic, this day is an excellent opportunity to check in on your child’s well-being, as well as your own mental health as a caregiver.
What is World Mental Health Day? 🌍
World Mental Health Day was created by the World Health Organization. This year, the campaign’s theme is focused on making mental health & well-being a global priority for all. On their website, the World Health Organization advocates for community-based networks for support for services to mental health care:
“We envision a world in which mental health is valued, promoted and protected” (World Health Organization).
Put On Your “Oxygen Mask” First ✈️
No, it’s not selfish. There’s a reason why they say this before an airplane takes flight! To be able to assist our loved ones properly, we need to start with ourselves. To say that parenting is a tough job is an understatement! It is tiring, incredible, and terrifying, among many other things.
That’s why it’s essential to check in on yourself and take the time to assess your stress, anxiety, and happiness levels. When you’re in tune with your own mental health, you’ll be better able to help your child manage theirs.
Checking-In on Your Child 💬
There are many ways for parents to be involved with their children’s mental health. Here are some ideas on how you can check in on your child’s well-being:
- 🔎 Look for clues: No one knows your child better than you do! Have their emotions changed suddenly? Are they having difficulty sleeping? Are they isolating themselves? Any strange behavior that lasts more than a few days might mean your child is struggling.
- ❓ Ask questions and listen: Active listening goes a long way. As much as we want to, we can’t always fix everything. It’s helpful for children to have their parents listen to their problems and validate their uncomfortable feelings. For example, instead of saying, “you don’t need to feel sad about this,” try responding: “I can understand why that would make you feel sad.”
- 📖 Read books with mental health themes: Reading is a great way to start tough conversations about mental health. Instead of talking about your child’s issues, which can be triggering, you can talk about what the character is experiencing. Ask follow up questions about the book like, “how would you feel in this situation” or “what do you think the character should do?” This practice can teach your child how to recognize different issues and how to seek help.
- 🩺 Get outside support: You can’t do it all on your own. If you or your child is struggling with mental health, many types of support are available to you. Reach out to your health provider, your child’s school, or look for programs in your community that are directed at supporting mental health.
Mental Health and Lingokids 💙
Let us know how your family plans to recognize World Mental Health Day by tagging us on social media!