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Teaching Mental Health to Children – How To Explain Its Importance

Having good mental health is equally important for the overall wellbeing of children, as it is for adults. However, while most children are taught how to read and write at school and about good manners at home, not many receive proper guidance on how to take care of their mental wellbeing. 

Parents should guide their children on how to have awareness of their feelings, how to self-regulate, and be resilient amidst daily challenges. Learning about mental health is just as important for kids as learning about physical health, and must be given equal importance. Here is why and how you can make mental health education a part of your child’s life. 

young person on the beach - children mental health

Why mental health education should start at a young age

The lack of focus on child mental health literacy has resulted in childrens’ mental health problems and declining mental wellbeing later in life. This might be one reason why the prevalence of childrens’ mental health problems in Australia has not decreased in the last 15 years, despite efforts in creating increased awareness.

Early mental health education also reduces the stigma around it. Negative attitudes toward stereotyped groups can lead to further distress, shame and anxiety. By educating kids about mental health at an early age, we begin to normalise conversations around mental illnesses and eliminate the stigma surrounding it.

Emotional development is a key part of a child’s healthy growth and helps with their mental wellbeing. It is increasingly important to prepare your kids with essential toolkits and knowledge to tackle the challenges that they will face on their journey of growth and maturity. Being mentally healthy allows children to become comfortable socially, regulate their behaviours, and increase their confidence in dealing with challenges, especially those related to their mental well-being. It is important for kids to be equipped with the tools to build up resilience to get through difficult times, and become comfortable with connecting with others and asking for help. After all, prevention is better than cure. The Mental Health Coach offers parents the toolkits to help guide their children towards a path of growth. 

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Talking to your child about their mental health 

You can help children be more aware of their emotions by talking to them about how they are feeling and communicate openly about the emotions that they face. This encourages a child to normalise acknowledging emotions and become more comfortable with expressing how they feel. 

Learning how to manage emotions is important for creating resilience. By teaching kids how different emotions influence their actions and behaviours, and how they can manage them in healthy ways, children will become more emotionally mature as they progress into adulthood.  Youth Mental Health First Aid Training is the starting place for mental health education.

Learn about mental health to deepen your knowledge on different issues and ways to improve your children’s toolbox, so as to enable transparent conversations around mental health. 

Incorporating mental health education into your child’s daily routine 

Rest and relaxation, movement, mental exercises, play and socialising are important aspects of mental wellbeing . Sleep is also critical to physical and emotional health. Parents should prioritise sleep as well as time for their child to play, experiment with creative activities and simply have fun. 

There are a variety of activities that can be used to relieve stress and help youths learn how to reflect on their emotions. Meditation for kids is one of the activities that parents should incorporate in their child’s daily routine. A gratitude exercise or a light physical exercise session are some forms of meditative activities that could be incorporated. The Mental Health Coach’s programs such as the Personal Mental Health Coaching and Youth MHFA offer guidance on this and much more. To know about what you will learn in the Youth MHFA program, you can read our detailed post on it here.

Preparing kids for adulthood by teaching them about mental health issues is crucial for a well-rounded education. At Mental Health Coach, we aim to be a place of support and give you and your family the essential tool kits to build better mental health. The Mental Health First Aid Course for youth and the Personalised Mental Health Coaching program are created to equip youths and parents with the necessary skills and knowledge for better mental health management.  Contact us today to know more about the other courses we offer or to join one of our courses.

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