As ‘Children’s Mental Health Week’ is in full swing, it helps to shine a light on how and if we discuss this subject with our family.

Provide a supporting hand to openly talk about mental health / Photo credit: Unsplash
Provide a supporting hand to openly talk about mental health / Photo credit: Unsplash

Many parents may talk about emotions and feelings with their kids on a regular basis, but for some, it can be tricky to articulate.

Mental health is nothing to be afraid of – yes, it may seem a little daunting initially, especially if you feel you don’t have the knowledge or experiences with it, but you can approach it in everyday life, no matter how big or small.

Tarnishing the stigma of mental health and establishing a ‘safe heaven’ for your children to discuss and talk freely about emotions could see big positive changes to their overall health and wellbeing.

Talk freely, daily

Allow the kids to open up and chat about what is on their mind and how they feel regularly. Normalising this into every day conversation will make it easier for them to talk about and eventually become second nature for them.

Define emotions

Understanding what emotions are and their meaning will assist in breaking down the barriers and provide a clearer outlook of what it is they are going through.

Get creative

Again, not only recognising feelings and emotions but knowing when appropriate to display them and how to express this will leave the kids feeling comfortable and safe when broaching the subject.

Open questions

When chatting with the kids, ensure you ask open ended questions so they can share a detailed answer rather than a simple yes or no response. This will allow you to understand how their feeling but also provide them with a sense of relief. Keeping this casual and chatting when doing other activities will make it feel more natural.

Emotions box

If you or the kids do find it difficult to speak about mental health you could try introducing an ‘emotions box’ or something similar. By providing a ‘go-to’ which your children can use privately, will give them the confidence, not only to use it, but should help progress into speaking about it and developing into every day conversations.

Normalise feelings

If it isn’t second nature for you or the kids to talk about then make it your priority to actually normalise feelings and emotions. It’s okay to feel a particular way about things but understanding how to manage that and represent the feelings will again give a better understanding of how to deal with said emotions. Supporting the kids and reiterating that it’s good and normal to have feelings will encourage conversation.

Help from other sources

If you do need a little more support to help you feel comfortable with starting the process, there are many mental health websites that you can visit. These include;, Mind Uk, YoungmindsUK and Place2Be. Here you’ll find exert advice and support. If you are concerned about your children and their mental health, seek advice from your GP.

Written by Laura, who you can follow on Twitter at @LauraJadeC20

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