This week is Place2Be Children’s Mental Health Week, something we are very keen to support as a team of education consultants. It’s our strong belief that supporting children’s emotional well-being is as important as choosing the right school, university or career. Self-confidence and emotional resilience are key life skills that will enable young people to become happy, successful adults in all areas of future life-career, home and family.
Here’s a few tips and useful tools to support children’s mental health at home:
Listen Sounds obvious I know. However, I believe this is the single-most-important piece of advice for parents when it comes to mental health. For a young person, not being listened to can lead to frustration and a feeling of lack of self-worth. Families are busy, especially when both parents work, and there are lots of siblings. Making time to listen to each child is crucial to their emotional well-being.
Sibling or peer group squabbles There’s always more than one perspective on a disagreement between siblings or peers. Take time to listen to all if stepping in to adjudicate, or better still encourage the youngsters to listen to one another and resolve themselves.
Encourage empathy An ability to step into the shoes of others and walk around in them for a while builds empathy, another crucial life skill.
Time together Play board games, watch a film together, climb trees in the garden, go for a walk with the dog. Encourage children to use their PC or other device downstairs, where you can pop by and look over their shoulder as well as limiting gadget time. A combination of fresh air, exercise and quality time as a family will be to the benefit of all.
Sit around the table for family meals It’s amazing what you can pick up by talking together as a family while eating a meal together. It always impresses me when I visit boarding schools with in-boarding house dining. I have had some fantastically engaging conversations with young students who have never met me before. They’re building conversational and social skills that will be a huge asset to them in adult life.
MeeTwo – This App provides a safe and secure forum for teenagers to discuss issues affecting their lives. They can receive anonymous help and advice from mental health experts, as well as peers who may be going through similar experiences. All posts are fully moderated to eliminate bullying, judgment or humiliation. It focusses on positive support to build self-confidence, increase well-being and grow emotional resilience.
by Catherine Stoker
If you would like to talk to one of our team about how we can support your child with mentoring, call 01865 522 066 or email firstname.lastname@example.org