How To Talk To Your Child About Mental Health

 

woman with two children on a dock, giving cuddles
"How do I talk to my child about mental health?"*


Great question!
The fact that you are thinking about this, and are searching for tips, demonstrates that you are doing an amazing job providing a safe and supportive environment for your child(ren).

The following is what has worked for me as a mother of two children.
One child identifies as a boy and is 6 years old.
One child identifies as a girl and is 8 years old.
I am also a teacher that has taught Junior Kindergarten to Grade 4, but I am mostly drawing my tips from my experience as a Mom.

Family preparing a meal

1. Create a calm environment with little to no distractions. Try preparing or eating a family meal with no T.V., during your child's bedtime routine, or while out for a walk.

father listening to child
2. Listen. Don't feel like you have to give advice or fill silences. Like adults, children might need to talk things out or vent. 

 

woman writing on paper

3. Document their thoughts and questions. Make a quick note in your phone, keep a journal, or whatever works for you. This will help you with the next step and to see if there are any trends or patterns. It will also help you to remember to research an answer if you didn't have the answer in the moment.

two dads reading with child
4. Follow up. This one is easily skipped or forgotten. 
The tough conversation or dialogue might seem to be done, but it's important that our children know that we are there for them and are thinking about them. We also need to follow through and answer questions that we didn't have the answers for. This builds trust for future conversations.
You can use this opportunity to share a story about mental health.
My favorite is, The Princess and the Fog (not an ad; a personal favorite!)

therapist with child
5. Get professional help. Our family has personal experience with therapists; a child therapist included! We reached out for help when one of our children was dealing with big emotions during the pandemic, and needed help navigating how best to support our child. The therapist also worked with our child to provide strategies and to help our child use them. It benefited the whole family.


It's never too early, or too late, to start the conversation about mental health. You got this!

Do you have more tips?
Comment below! I would love to read them and add them to a future blog post, with credit.

All my best,
Allison

Below is a picture of me and my two children to remind you to "BE KIND TO YOUR MIND" and also to do your part to "END THE STIGMA"
woman and two children wearing hats that say "be kind to your mind" and "end the stigma"


*Disclaimer:
I am a mother and a certified teacher.
I am NOT a licensed therapist, child psychologist, or any other specialist in those fields.
The following post are based on my opinion, experiences, and research.
If you need professional help, please seek an expert in your area.

Click here to find out more about me! (Allison)

 

 


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