As part as Mental Health Awareness Month - this week we are diving deep into mental health and kids (under 18). We often think of mental health pertaining to adults because what could those kids have to worry about?! The truth is, a lot! Children are like sponges and absorb everything from their environment around them. As they get older, the pressures of school, friends, sports and interfamily dynamics can really have an impact as well. Millions of children, ages 3-17, each year are diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and other behavioral disorders with most arising during ages 2-8 according to the CDC.
First, I am not a medical professional and will be providing resources at the end of this blog should you need them! While my little one is only 3 years old, I want to educate myself on all that I can so that I can provide the healthiest environment for her to grow in. As I dive into this topic for myself, I want to share all that I have learned so far and encourage you to learn more as well!
Creating a Safe Space. Now, we all remember being young and our parents were the last people we wanted to talk to. However, now I know how much wisdom they really had! As I get further into motherhood, I want my children to be able to feel safe enough to come to my husband and I to talk about what is going on in their lives. This may look different for every child but starting the dialouge young is key!
Give them the Tools. Our little ones have so many feelings that they may not know how to name. Equip them with the tools to name their feelings and express them in a healthy manner. This will set them up for success in their future relationships, work and life!
Find an Outlet. Whether that is sports, art, music or writing - find what brings your little ones joy and allows them to let out all the feels.
Connect with the Adults in their Life. If you do have any concerns about your childrens mental health, reach out to the adults in their life to see what they have observed. As they get older, sometimes teachers, school counselors, and coaches spend more day to day time with our kids but this means they can be excellent resources as well!
CDC Childrens Mental Health - HERE
Psychology Today (Find a Mental Health Provider) - HERE
Child Mind Institute - HERE
National Institute of Mental Health - HERE