3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Child’s Mental Health

Every parent wants his/her child to feel happy.  Happiness is driven by a series of choices.  How we choose to feed our children, discipline our children, care for our children all impacts their mental health.  It isn’t one factor that leads to depression, anger, irritability or anxiety.  Sit back and take stock of the daily decisions you make as a parent.  Where you see there is need for improvement – seek out positive change.  It all begins with you.  And I have a funny feeling you are up for the task.  Don’t sell yourself short…dig in and get to work.

While you are having a good ole’ time conducting your self-evaluation; try these 3 easy steps in the meantime:

1. Get your child moving.  And I don’t mean from the kitchen to the couch.  They should be sweating!  Exercise has been proven over and over again to improve the mental health of all who participate.  If you want to turn that child’s frown upside down…get to steppin’!  *Note:  Go running, biking, dancing or swimming with your child.  Have fun and do it together!  Your child shouldn’t be the only one feeling the happy endorphins.  You owe to yourself and your family to take care of your health too!

2. Feed your child real food.  You don’t have to hold a degree in science to know that food from the Earth is best for your body.  And funny thing is…your brain is attached to that body.  What you feed your child affects their entire body system.  If your child is exhibiting symptoms like irritability, anxiety, mood swings, inability to focus and persistent sadness; their brain may be telling you it is not well-nourished.  Search out whole foods, preferably organic, that will fill your child’s body with the needed vitamins and minerals.  Focus on fresh or frozen vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and high-quality, grass-fed dairy and meat.  Try to toss simple carbohydrates and sugar, processed food and fast food to the curb.  Hate to break it to you but those 4 guys are wreaking havoc on your child’s brain.

3. Communicate with your child.  Keep the lines of communication open between yourself, your partner, and your daughter and/or son.  A connected child is a happy child.  You can never communicate too much.  Unless you are me and then your children will zone you out as they need a means to escape the constant banter! But, again, that is just me. If communication is difficult for you or your family; seek the guidance of a qualified therapist, who can help your family navigate the emotions and behaviors you may find difficult. If you are not sure where to begin, please check out the resources section of my website.  No one should struggle alone.

Today’s take-away:  Everyone deserves to feel emotionally whole.  If you feel something is off with your child, don’t ignore it.  Just get to work. You can heal as a family.  It is never too late to turn things around.  Never!