10 Ways to Promote Positive Mental Health in Your Children
By: Dr. Lena Pearlman, LCSW
We receive many questions about what parents can do to help promote positive mental health in their children. Below please find 10 ways to promote positive mental health in your children:
Find outdoor activities to participate in with your children. Being inside all day, deprives our body of nature’s illumination. Serotonin is released in response to sunlight, which helps raise your energy level and mood. Sunlight deprivation can make a person feel sad and depressed.
2.) Role Model
It is very important that you model positive mental health for your children. This includes helping them to observe you when you use positive coping skills to de-stress, relax, and calm down.
3.) Run, Skip, Hop & Move Your Body
Exercise helps your physical and mental health in so many ways. Exercise alleviates anxiety. When exercising, the body releases endorphins – which creates feelings of happiness and euphoria. An additional benefit of exercise is that it boosts self-confidence.
There are so many benefits to deep breathing! Breathing increases neurochemicals in the brain to elevate moods and combat physical pain. Breathing reducing excessive anxiety levels. As you relax your body, you will find that the breathing brings clarity and insights to you as well.
5.) Learn Something New Every Day (Even in the Summer)
Having an “a-ha” moment and stimulating your brain has been shown to improve one’s outlook. It also feels good to have new knowledge or skills. This can be something as simple as learning something new on Khan Academy.
There are many resources and tools that one can access online. As valuable and important as this can be, encourage your children to reduce “screen time” and to unplug. This is something that as a parent you can model for them as well. Find time at home to talk, eat meals, exercise, explore, and other activities that are technology free.
Getting an adequate amount of sleep is critical for physical and mental health. People who are chronically sleep deprived can feel irritable, sad, angry, and lack motivation to do anything.
Keep an open line of communication with your child. Help reinforce that you are there for them – even in the tough times.
9.) Happy Place
Make sure that your child has a place to go to when they need to decompress, calm down, or reflect. This will give them time and a quiet place to work through a thought, situation, or conflict. They can then return when they are ready.
Help your child to have enough activities that keep them active and interested. Work hard to find balance between school, activities, family time, and time to relax. Over-programming your child can cause stress and an increase in anxious feelings. Perhaps create a list of activities that your child is interested in. Have your child rank their top few choices. You can then work with them to focus on a few of the high interest ones.
Dr. Lena Pearlman & Associates is a mental health therapy practice in St. Louis, Missouri. The practice has a team of six licensed therapists that provide therapy and counseling services to kids, teens, adults, couples, and families. Dr. Lena Pearlman & Associates specializes in stress, anxiety, depression, relationships, and other mental health related issues and concerns.
The practice can be reached by phone at: 314-942-1147, by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or on the web at: www.STLmentalhealth.com. The office is located at: 655 Craig Road, Suite 300, St. Louis, MO 63141.
Our staff is here to answer your questions and to provide you information. This is all confidential.