Top ten tips for supporting your little one’s mental health

Dad and boy outside looking at each other

This year, the theme of Children’s Mental Health Week (7-13 February 2022) was all about Growing Together. Because of this, we wanted to write a short and sharp blog on the top 10 ways you can support your little one’s mental health.

Mental health is a topic that can affect children of all ages, with this list of our top 10 tips we hope to give you ways to support your children’s mental health, ease anxiety and enjoy those precious early years.

Here are our top 10 tips:

  1. Stop and listen - Show your children that you are hearing exactly what they say, repeat back to check you have heard them right. Spending time really paying attention and listening will help your child to feel valued.
  2. Spend time having fun together – Playing together with your little ones is an excellent stress reliever for both of you and can help us forget some of life’s challenges.
  3. Create a calm and comfy area – Having a safe space for you both to spend time together relaxing and having a cuddle. This would ideally be a space without any distractions. Spending time together not doing anything can calm your child down and help remove some of their worries.
  4. Blowing bubbles – Blowing bubbles can help with breathing regulation and can be very calming and a great mindful activity.
  5. Get out and about - Being outside is proven to be good for your mental health and can help with emotional regulation. Take a trip to the park or a walk around your local area, or let your child decide the route!
  6. Read stories about managing emotions – There are many amazing early years books like Ravi’s Roar and Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival that discuss managing emotions. Non-fiction stories are brilliant ways for children to learn about their emotions and mental health. Take 10 minutes to read a story and see how it improves their wellbeing.
  7. Try some simple mindfulness activities – Mindful activities include taking deep breaths, practising stretches and small forms of meditation – this could be taking five minutes out of your day to listen to the sounds around you.
  8. Talk about things that make your children happy - Encourage children to find positive things about their day, commenting on things if they do not yet have the vocabulary to do so. Praise their achievements, such as “we had a fun time at the park today, you managed to go down the slide all by yourself today, well done!”
  9. Help your child to get enough sleep - Have a regular bedtime routine is a great way of keeping on top of your children’s mental health. This routine can include bath time, brushing their teeth and a bedtime story which will help your child fall to sleep easier and bring more structure to their evening.
  10. Take care of yourself – Making sure you take care of yourself makes it much easier to also take care of your child/children. Remember many parents are going through the same thing, so don’t be afraid to ask your family, friends and support network for help and advice.