As adults, it’s easier to wrap our heads around mental health struggles. Kids, on the other hand, may not be able to understand mental health struggles to the same extent. Opening that line of communication is a helpful way to not only assist your child in understanding mental health, but it can make them more willing to seek help if they need to. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control notes that roughly 7 percent of children ages 3-17 have diagnosed anxiety. That’s 4.4 million kids who are suffering in the U.S. alone. Our team has compiled some helpful tips on how to approach this tricky subject with children.
Be a Good Role Model
Acknowledging mental health and putting the subject into the open is always a good idea. If your child grows up in an environment where it’s encouraged to be open about how you’re feeling, they will feel more confident seeking help and resources for themselves. Lead by example by talking about your own feelings or struggles if your child is an appropriate age to understand this type of conversation.
Ask specific questions like “what was your favorite part of your day?” or “what’s one thing that you learned today?” instead of general questions like “how was your day?” This simple switch in language will encourage your child to share more information with you. You’ll also be able to better pick up on red flags this way.
Use Emojis for Young Kids
It may sound silly, but encouraging your child to identify “emotion words” by using emojis is a simple yet effective tactic. Opening this conversation at a young age helps normalize the emotions that they’re feeling.
Seek Help If Needed
Help end the stigma about seeking mental health services in Minneapolis by making it a normal part of the conversation. As your child gets older, it’s important that they have the resources they need to succeed. If you have more questions about how to approach this topic with your child, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.