8 Things You Can Do To Help Your Child’s Emotional Health

It’s not always easy to help your child with his or her emotional health, but there are simple things you can do that can make a big difference in the long run. Take a look at these 8 strategies and ways to support your child’s emotional health. 

They might seem like small steps, but over time they will add up to making all the difference in how your child views the world and reacts to it, ultimately leading to increased success and happiness in life.

1) Stay in Contact

Quality time is important, but so is quality contact. Children need to know that their parents are paying attention to them.
 As a parent, making a real effort to keep in touch with your child by sending text messages or emails can go a long way toward nurturing their sense of self-worth and supporting their emotional health.
 Maintaining regular contact also gives you an opportunity to support your child’s identity development and strengthen his or her relationship with you—the most important aspect of your child’s emotional health.

2) Take Time Out with Them

When your child comes to you for attention, don’t interrupt what you’re doing. Instead, gently invite them to join you by saying something like it looks like something is bothering you; what can I do to help? By taking a break from what you were doing and focusing on your child, they will feel reassured that they have your full attention. 
Even if it was only for 5 minutes, time spent focused on them can mean a lot and help promote positive mental health.

3) Set Limits For Yourself

As a parent, you can often feel pressured to be involved in your child’s life, help them with their homework, do all of their laundry, drive them everywhere they need to go and even babysit your own grandchildren. However, spending time with friends or traveling alone can be healthy for you. Make sure that each day has enough free time for you to take care of yourself. 
Not only will you have more energy for your children when you need it, but it will make family outings more enjoyable for everyone involved if you are well rested and ready to interact with others. Be realistic about how much time and energy your kids really need from you.

4) Listen And Get Their Side Of The Story

No parent likes to see their child upset, but our minds can sometimes jump to worst-case scenarios. Talking through your concerns with your child can help both of you understand what’s really going on. Give them a chance to tell you how they feel and provide an opportunity for them to clarify their situation. This will also give you insight into their perspective. 
Letting them talk about their feelings could be exactly what they need to calm down and find a solution on their own. Also, keep in mind that some teenagers may not want parents involved in every little thing or every tiny problem—if it’s something that doesn’t seem too serious, it may be best to let them work through it without any parental input.

5) Stop Over-Reacting

Have you ever noticed that when you get upset, it’s easier to stay that way than it is to calm down? There are two reasons for that. The first is that our sympathetic nervous system – aka our fight-or-flight response – comes from a primitive part of our brain, and we can quickly go into survival mode in high-stress situations. It’s totally normal for those feelings to happen, but once we notice them, it can be hard to step back and assess what’s really going on.
 Often times, kids are feeling things so deeply they don’t even know how they feel until they have a meltdown!

6) Encourage Them To Take Responsibility

Parents often find themselves needing to say no over and over again to their children. But when a child is constantly told no, it can affect their self-esteem and emotions. 
Start by teaching your kids how to set boundaries and take responsibility for their own actions at an early age. They will not only learn valuable life skills but also gain a sense of empowerment and self-worth that will help build up their emotional health.

7) Give them privacy and space

Maintaining a parent/child relationship can be hard enough without frequent contact with parents. As kids grow older, they need more space and privacy to navigate their teen years as well as to develop their own independent relationships with friends and teachers.
 Time apart from parents lets your child know that you are not always there for them, and forces them to be more self-reliant. It also allows them to create boundaries with you in a healthy way, so that when they do return home after an independence building period of time (as all teens eventually do), they will be much better at handling normal family interactions. Encourage extra-curricular activities: Finding activities outside of school is important for both physical and mental health.

8) Ask Questions

While it may seem obvious, getting your kids to open up can sometimes be a challenge. Keep them talking by asking questions. Don’t ask yes/no questions; instead, ask things like what happened next? or how did you feel about that? or why is that important to you? Or, if you want some more specific information that might help explain their feelings, simply ask for more detail. 
It also helps to listen: don’t interrupt and avoid making any comments until they finish speaking. There’s no need to offer advice or judgement just yet—you are trying to learn more about what makes your child tick and so they should not expect you to give an answer right away! And finally, try not to lecture. Listen with empathy before offering a solution or question some of their assumptions—you never know where they could take you

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