5 Ways to Improve Your Child's Mental Health

May 9th, 2013 has been declared Children's Mental Health Awareness Day by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). "The effort seeks to raise awareness about the importance of children's mental health and that positive mental health is essential to a child's healthy development from birth."

How to Improve Your Child's Mental Health and Self-Esteem

[caption id="attachment_1997" align="alignleft" width="500" caption="Parents, you CAN make a difference in your child's life!"][/caption]

As a professional, I work with many children who have not had someone tell them how special they are. As a result, many have had low self-esteem and do not see themselves for the amazing and resilient people they truly are. My work allows me to help kids see their gifts and talents as well as to encourage parents to build a positive relationship with them. The result - parents help their kids improve self-esteem and mental health. Below are some tips on how to help your child have healthy self-esteem and positive mental health.

Send them off with love. One tradition I've continued to practice with Bob (as it was done with me) is to send him off with a blessing and an "I love you." My mother sent me off everyday and received me in the evenings with a "God bless you." It always comforted me to know that I had my blessing for the day. Everyday and every evening, I give Bob my blessing as a way to protect him and show him my love. "I love you" can go a long way to giving your child much needed comfort and support to start their day right.

Leave little notes for them. Kids today face many challenges - peer issues, bullying, etc. Another way to let your child know how amazing he or she is (and help boost their self-esteem) is to send a special note. Hidden in the lunchbox or bookbag, your child can find it and be instantly uplifted.

Give lots of affection. So many times when people get angry, they withdraw. Sometimes, parents withhold love from kids - especially when upset about negative behavior. In my work, I find that the kids who misbehave the most, need the most affection. Hugs and kisses can wrap a child with warmth and the feeling of security.

Ask about their day. We parents can get caught up in the busyness of life - working, paying bills or getting ready for the next day. We forget that conversations are important. By asking your child about his or her day, you show interest. By showing interest in the small things, you child will be able to trust you with the important things. Like what upsets them or troubles they may have in school. Ask your child about his or her day. You may get strange looks at first (if you don't practice this), but your child will come around and start chatting away.

Compliment your child. Another tip to help improve a child's self-esteem and mental health is to say nice things. Point out his or her talents and gifts. Celebrate the amazing person you've been given. Telling a child - "You're so smart!' or "Your artwork is amazing! I'm hanging it on the fridge." - will boost his or her ego (sense of self). You'll help your child see him or herself through your eyes.

Celebrate Child Mental Health Awareness by using these tips!

APA Reference
Zalamar, H. (2013, May 9). 5 Ways to Improve Your Child's Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 17 from

Author: Heiddi Zalamar, LMHC, MA

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