Shaping a Healthy Mind

Nurturing mental health in children

by Kimberly Baker

Mental health is an important aspect of any child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. Finding ways to grow a healthy mind is critical to a child’s development. Here are some practical ways to nurture mental health in children.

1 |  Speak in loving, supportive ways. Be encouraging—especially when you see a situation challenges a child.

2 |  Model positive self-talk! A child hears how you speak about yourself. Be a good model for being kind to yourself so a child will learn how to use positive, affirming language about themselves.

Help children label their emotions and then find out why they might be feeling that way.

3 | Allow a child to explore a variety of activities. Check The goal is to find things the child enjoys. Let a child try activities that balance energy, such as reading, playing board games, walking, dancing, drawing, telling jokes, or quiet mindfulness. Trying a variety will help bring out joy and calmness. 

4 |  Provide opportunities to be in the natural world. More and more research indicates that children spend far too much time in front of screens. It’s important for children to interact with the tangible world around them. Being out in nature is a great way to do that.

Some children may show signs of feeling lonely, depressed, or anxious. It’s important to support them with encouraging words and to “chase the why” behind what is going on. Help children label their emotions and then find out why they might be feeling that way.

Parents can’t fix everything. It’s important to seek professional help when warranted. Leaving mental and emotional health issues unaddressed can lead to children having lower self-esteem or struggling at school. Help children see that asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness.

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