Functional medicine for your children’s mental health is all about providing the tools necessary to navigate life’s daily stressors while balancing the biological chemistry kids need to thrive. Kids are resilient, but only when they have the proper support to get them through.
If you’re like most parents, you’re probably very diligent about taking your kids to their well-child visits, getting immunizations, offering nutritious food, and helping with their schoolwork. How often, though, do you think about how to take care of your child’s mental health? Discussed five tips how to improve the mental health of a child.
Your relationship with your kids plays a major role in their mental health, and a solid relationship begins with building trust. One way to establish trust is by creating a sense of safety and security. This means meeting your child’s physical and emotional needs by taking care of them when they’re hungry, thirsty, hot, or cold, as well as when they’re scared, anxious, or sad.
Talk Openly About Feelings
One of the biggest mental health tips for kids is keeping the channels of communication open. Always reassure kids that they can come to you with their feelings no matter what is going on. If they have questions or worries, make sure they know you are listening. Recognize that their feelings have value and they will be more likely to keep coming to you to talk about how they’re feeling throughout their life.
Develop a Nighttime Routine
Few things are as crucial for your child’s mental health and cognition than adequate sleep. Sleep has been shown to influence elements of mental health including “depression, anxiety, impulsive behavior, and cognitive performance” according to a study in Molecular Psychiatry. Develop a nighttime routine that works for you and your child. For some, this is having a bath and applying some calming lavender lotion. For others, this might be adding chamomile essential oil to their diffuser and reading quietly in their room.
Nurture Hobbies and Interests
Children and teens develop important goal-setting and confidence in the pursuit of a hobby, sport, or other interest. Not only does growing skills in their free time keep their mind active and curious, but it provides a significant boost in self-esteem by showing them how they can improve skills over time and with practice. Encourage your kids to experiment with recreational activities until they find one that suits their interests. Some children gravitate towards sports, others toward knowledge-based activities, and some enjoy creative outlets like painting or writing.
Talk to A professional
The last mental health tip we have for kids is one of the most important. If you see signs your child is struggling with their mental health, you should contact their pediatrician. They can evaluate your child and possibly recommend a specialist that will have even more mental health tips for kids. If you are unable to visit the doctor’s office in person during a crisis, many providers are offering telehealth options to accommodate their patients.