Question... If I asked you how your child was feeling out of 10, what would you say? Have a guess and then ask them.
Why is it that when we think of physical health we think of being strong and healthy but when we talk about mental health it's easy to think of being stressed, anxious and worried? Let's be positive when thinking about the words "mental health".
I have put this blog together not only as an experienced sports coach but as a business leader, a manager, a partner, a son and as a friend. Those closest to us can use these tips to help either improve their mental health or just to maintain a healthy mind. As a children's sports coaching company these tips are tailored towards a child's life but can easily be adapted for all.
As a sports coach, I have always encouraged people to get out there and be active! It's no surprise that every country has retained some form of physical activity through even the strictest lockdowns, and that is because it is so important for our health. A child who has exercised will not only have released those endorphins to help them feel good but also will be tired and will have a better nights sleep!
Encouraging our young ones to talk about their emotions in an honest and open way will allow us to spot changes in their behaviour. When you know your child regularly considers themselves as an 8/10 it's easier to spot they are feeling low when they say they are a 5/10. This works both ways though, as a parent it's important that you speak from the heart when talking about your emotions as it will help your kids to feel more comfortable sharing their own emotions.
The quality of food we allow our children to help is likely to have a direct impact on their mental health. Filling up on snacks that give a short burst of energy only to be hit with a sugar low is not a healthy way to move through the day. Ensure they eat food with slow-releasing energy to help them through the day. What breakfast do your children eat?
Encourage Them To Do Something They Are Good At
When kids do something that they know they are good at, it really helps to boost their self-esteem and confidence. It can be too easy to push children to constantly do something new and to challenge themselves. But, without reminding them of all the things they are great at, we risk letting their self-confidence fall. Whether they are feeling low or as high as the sky, ask them to do something they can do, trust me, it works!
Keep In Touch
With all the distractions of the modern world in a child's life, it can be easy to lose touch with those important to them. Encouraging your child to call their friend from their swimming club or to give Grandad a call, this communication could really help not only them to feel good but also whoever they are calling.
Children need sleep and it needs to be consistent. By setting a bedtime and sticking to it we create routines for our children that help them start the next day on the right foot. As adults, we know what it is like the day we wake up after staying up for too long watching that new Netflix episode. It is unhealthy for our body and sleep is one of the most undervalued tools when it comes to feeling positive.
Care For Others
Children have so much love to give and it is so important we provide them with opportunities to care for others. Many children will feel great after doing something for someone and this could be a simple as bringing the recycling bins in for their elderly neighbours. What have you done today to care for somebody else?
For the same reasons as eating well, drinking well is just as important. Going through the day having drunk enough water makes children feel so much better about themselves! If your child has a headache most of the day or is feeling really lethargic it can quite often come down to not drinking enough water.
By encouraging children to accept who they are, we teach self-care and self-love. This doesn't mean they are big-headed or selfish it just means that they are confident in their own skin. It is easy to want to be taller or shorter, to have blonde hair or whatever else it may be but real happiness is found when we are happy in being who we are.
Take A Break
Do school pressures get your child down? There is nothing wrong with taking a break! Five minutes watching that funny video on YouTube may be all your child needs to help get them back on track. It is easy to forget how we felt as children but kids need that break, just as much as we do.
What can you do now?
If you would love for your children to know about these techniques in an easy to understand format, we have a fun video for kids on our youtube channel which you can view here:
Remember that mental health is just, if not more important, than physical health. If we do not feel well mentally in ourselves this creates a major barrier to maintaining our physical health, our social life, school/work life and much more. These techniques should not just be practised when we are feeling down. Usain Bolt doesn't just practice when he starts to slow down now, does he?
If you have further concerns about your child's mental health, you can find a list of helpful websites and numbers here: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/for-children-and-young-people/useful-contacts/
I hope you have taken at least one thing from this blog to help your child. Please feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions and we would be happy to help.