5 useful ways to help support your Child’s Mental Health.

Expert Reveals Five Ways To Support Your Child Mentally in Lockdown 3.0

With schools looking unlikely to reopen until April, many of us parents are wondering how to keep the kids happy during the current lockdown which also includes how we can help to support our child’s mental health and wellbeing.

While many parents are juggling working from home and schooling responsibilities, some have relaxed screen time restrictions on devices to keep restless children entertained. But with this comes a concern on their physical and mental health, as a new study has found nearly 7,000 parents said they are worried about their child’s mental health, wellbeing or education.

With this in mind, the team at Essential Living has partnered with mental health counsellor, Kerry Quigley on five ways you can improve your child’s mental health during the current lockdown. 

Kerry Quigley has been a counsellor for over 17 years, where she offers specialist guidance on keeping children mentally positive, engaged and helping them to learn under difficult circumstances.

Here are 5 ways you can help support your child’s mental health. 

1. Promote Positivity

Lockdown has turned our lives upside down and children and young people can often ruminate on the worst-case scenarios and ‘what ifs’ when worrying about a situation. As a parent, it can be easy to reciprocate this negativity, when in fact all this will do is make matters worse.

Mother and child with super positive attitudes. Promoting positivity is one way we can support our child's mental health.
Promote positivity to help support your child’s mental health.

Even if you are having a bad day yourself, as a parent you need to help your child shift this way of thinking by showing optimism and intentionally focusing on the positives in any given situation. 

Try creating things to look forward to, whether it be a special dinner, a family games night, or purchasing a new film to watch, this will encourage your child to look forwards instead of remaining in a negative mindset. 

Kerry Quigley says: “Teach your child to look for the silver lining in every cloud. Encouraging your child to also think about the things they are grateful for can improve on their optimism and sense of well-being.”

2. Maintain a sleep routine

With wild dreams, 3 am wake-ups and weary nights, the coronavirus pandemic seems to be playing havoc with our sleep. But it’s not just adults who have joined the #wideawakeclub, as lockdown is also having an impact on the snooze habits of children.

A good solid routine and sleep will help a child's mental health.

With no school to get up for, it can become easy to slip out of any sort of routine you may have had as bedtime is becoming later. However, as we all know, quality of sleep can have a huge impact on our daily mood and wellbeing. Recent studies have found that poor or inadequate sleep results in mood swings, behavioural problems and cognitive problems which can impact their ability to learn.

Kerry Quigley says: “Creating a set pattern each night to help your child to sleep more easily will help to support their overall wellbeing. A routine that includes activities, such as a warm bath, listening to music, reading a bedtime story or deep breathing techniques can help your child to wind down at the end of the day.”

3. Make time for physical activities

The lack of after-school activities is an obvious downside of social isolation, and whilst you are normally focusing on working, cooking, cleaning and homeschooling during the day, finding time to fit in exercise can be tough.

Physical activities such as sports and exercise can boost not just our child's mood but also help with a child's mental health and well being.

Evidence has proven excessive sitting is linked with various health risks, low self-esteem and decreased academic achievement in school-aged children and youth, and whilst children are encouraged to sit in front of laptops and television for remote learning, it is having a significant impact on child’s mental health and overall mood.

Kerry Quigley says: “Engaging in activities like home workouts, painting, baking, or a trip to the local park is educational and can help release endorphins. These hormones are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals that can help to relieve stress, improve concentration, and enable positivity.”

Children are more likely to exercise if their parents take part, therefore why not try The Family Fit Club’s online PE lessons. These workouts have been designed for the entire family regardless of age or ability, teaching movements and actions of activities children love to get up to, such as gaming, sports, cooking, superheroes, dance, TV etc.

Access them online here:  

4. Put yourself in their shoes

Reports have found the lockdown has caused children to become a lot more clingy and attention-seeking as they are more dependent on their parents. Whilst the struggle of homeschooling can cause frustration and tantrums, this can have significant negative effects on both yourself and your child.

Be a supportive parent and see what lockdown life is like from your child's perspective and be as supportive as you can, this will help not only yours but your child's mental health and wellbeing.

Understanding what lockdown life is like from the perspective of a younger child can be difficult; you must try and see things from a different light. If they are upset, take time to sit and analyse what the cause may be and listen to what they have to say before you respond. The outcome of this can have a massive impact on a child’s mental health and wellbeing. 

Kerry Quigley says, “Empathising with your child’s feelings and their point of view can often help to resolve disagreements more quickly. When you empathise and validate your child’s thoughts and emotions this can help to reduce their defensive reactions, enabling your child to be more open to understanding your point of view.”

5. Encourage mindfulness and be cautious

This time in our lives will go down in the history books, and whilst children are in the early stages of development, exposure to social media sites and news broadcasting can be distressing and they may not be emotionally prepared.

Incorporating simple activities into your family’s lifestyle, this can help your child to relax and cope better with daily stressors, wellbeing and child's mental health.

By incorporating some simple activities such as mindful eating, walking meditations, and guided sessions into your family’s lifestyle, this can help your child to relax and cope better with daily stressors. 

Kerry Quigley says: “Children and young people of all developmental stages can benefit from mindfulness. The simple practice of paying attention to the present moment can help to minimise negative feelings and promote happiness.”

Although whilst digital platforms provide an excellent opportunity for children to keep learning, entertain and keep in touch with their friends.

Increased online access brings heightened risks for children’s safety, protection and privacy. Therefore, it is essential to ensure your children know what to be aware of. You can follow this helpful guide on how to monitor kids’ online and computer activity in Windows – CNET.

I would like to thank the team at Essential Living and Mental Health Counsellor Kerry Quigley for providing these helpful tips to support our child’s mental health through these tough times we are all experiencing at the moment.

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18 Thoughts to “5 useful ways to help support your Child’s Mental Health.”

  1. These are really good tips. Thank you for sharing

    1. Hopefully these will be useful for many parents to help over the coming months. Thank you for your comment.

  2. These are great tips. I was just saying to a friend last night that these times are harder on kids and teenagers than the rest of us. We’re old enough to understand that it’s temporary and things will get better. For them, I’m sure it feels like life will never be normal again.

    1. It is very hard and must be harder for the older kids and teens. They have taken it extremely well, all the disruption to their normal day to day life.

  3. It’s so bloody hard at the moment, I am not good at home schooling but we are doing our best!

    1. That is all we can do is do our best. Hope you and the family are well Jenny.

  4. Currently I’m home with my 5-year-old daughter so this such a helpful post to read.
    I’ve been trying to stick to a normal bedtime routine, but I want to check out The Family Fit Club because if it has been raining all day like today, I don’t really want to go outside with her. She has also been doing mindfulness excersises at kindergarten, so I should incorporate some here.

    1. The family fit club looks great doesn’t it. I’ve shown it to my girls and think we are going to have a go at it. Doesn’t help with the weather been so poor does it. That’s great that she has been doing some mindfulness exercises at kindergarten.

  5. Sleep is a bit messed up here. We barely manage to get fresh air so the boys aren’t as tired as after school, so they take longer falling asleep and then have to be dragged from bed in the morning. They’re coping ok so far though.

    1. Sounds similar to us too does that smell. Bedtime routines are later than what they were when attending school, later mornings. Good to hear the boys are coping ok, how are you and himself coping?

      1. That’s a tricky question. Himself struggled the first week but he’s ok now. I found last week really hard but better this week. Only 2 weeks til half term and a break.

        1. Its not that far away is it, it has been tough. I’ve had my eldest daughter this week so had 4 to do schooling with. Hope you both are well.

          1. Wow, 4 at once is super-dad territory. I’m living on caffeine, carbs and chocolate. Stopping RED January is going to be a killer because I won’t be burning it all off anymore 😆

          2. Not all at once, its going more smoothly doing a couple of hours with each to smash through there work 1 at a time, working for us. Had to get to grips with Google classrooms as that’s what my eldests work is on. Chocolate is life at the moment along with caffeine.

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