Five Expert Tips To Help Your Child’s Mental Health

With thanks to Peaceful Parenting Coach, Jenni Honeyben…

Five Expert Tips To Help Your Child’s Mental Health

It’s safe to say our own wellbeing and mental health has been hugely affected over the past two years, so it’s no surprise our children’s has been too. In fact, a recent study from our charity partner, the Mental Health Foundation found that 1 in 6 children (aged between 6 and 16) had at least one probable mental health problem in 2021 which is up from 1 in 9 in 2017. The pandemic affected our little (or not so little) ones with constant ups and downs and changes to routine in more ways than one. So if you could use some expert advice and support, you're in the right place.

In light of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week this week, we spoke to Peaceful Parenting Coach, Jenni Honeyben about how we can best look out for their wellbeing and the things we as parents can do to help. Here she shares her top five tips…

1. Notice Their Needs

Taking some time to understand your child’s needs and meet them can help them to regulate their nervous system and help them to calm or wind down. Are they seeking movement to release pent up energy? Do they need time to just be? Are they looking for a connection with you? Would food, music or a bath help? Identifying this and learning how to help can have a really positive impact.

2. Notice Your Needs

The whole family functions better when you have had (or at least some of) your own needs met. Try taking five minutes and tuning in to your own emotions. It can make all the difference to how you’re then able to offer your support and help to them.

3. 1-1 Connection Time

Adding in 10 minutes of one-on-one time with your child at the end of a busy day can help refill their love tank and make everything go that bit smoother. Name and frame this as your ‘special time’ and follow their lead in terms of the activity you decide on for these 10 minutes.

4. Allow For A Slower Bedtime

Busy days (even if they’ve been full of fun) can lead to dysregulation and certain feelings which tend to come out around bedtime. Try factoring in an additional 30 minutes at night to make space for and to soothe these emotions. It helps to relieve some pressure for the both of you.

5. Create A Calming Nightly Routine

Children learn to self-soothe through us co-regulating and practicing with them time and time again. Try deep breathing and muscle relaxation techniques such as a warm bath. Making bedtime a calm time can really support their positive associations and provide them with tangible roots for promoting restful sleep.

Here at NEOM, we’ve partnered with the @MentalHealthFoundation to support the Peer Education Programme (PEP) which helps to educate secondary school children on the skills and knowledge they need to safeguard their mental health, and that of their peers. From 2015-2021 (in academic years), PEP reached approximately 36,740 pupils directly, the project was delivered to 167 different cohorts of pupils in 111 schools and since NEOM’s partnership, we have supported 5,940 pupils. Now, more than ever it is so important to support.

Follow Jenni Honeyben (@jennihoneyben) over on Instagram for even more useful tips and helpful advice. Other accounts worth a follow include Dr Martha Deiros Collado (@dr.martha.psychologist) and Laura Earnshaw (@myhappymind).