Childhealthy’s Newsletter: Mental Health

Mental Health: Looking after the mental wellbeing of both you and your child

Our thoughts are jumping ahead to spring – warmer weather, longer days, and of course the upcoming holidays and more time spent outside.

With these thoughts of being outside and spending time in nature, my mind turns to mental wellbeing. Time spent outdoors has always helped me when it comes to supporting and working on my own mental health – and so this newsletter is all about nurturing both you as a parent, and your child, with mental health and wellbeing tips.

Please share this newsletter with your fellow parents, follow and like us on Facebook and Instagram. Your support and feedback are really appreciated and so valuable in helping us improve these updates. We aim for this information to be useful to you and all families.

Do you have a question or topic that you would like covered through this newsletter? Please email info@childhealthy.co.uk and we will aim to include this in the next update.

4 tips for managing your own mental health

If you struggle with stress and anxiety as a parent, you’re not alone. The Mental Health Organisation reports that approximately 68% of women and 57% of men with mental health problems are parents – indicating that we, as parents, need to be doing more to support ourselves and to help each other. 

Here are some tips to help you deal with the daily challenges of being a parent, not only for your own benefit but to support your children’s development too.

  1. Know that when you look after yourself, you set a good example and instil mental and emotional health values in your children – no matter their age.
  2. Be honest and open about your feelings, and don’t shy away from labelling and teaching your children about those emotions.
  3. Embrace and pass on positive coping techniques. If you need a 5-minute sit-down, to take a few deep breaths, or a walk outside, embrace those needs and tell your children about them.
  4. Parents with toddlers will not be surprised to hear that one of the most common questions we get asked about is how to deal with challenging behaviours in toddlers – especially in relation to managing your own emotions in difficult situations. You are not alone; this can be challenging. Here are some tips to help both you and your child feel your best.

You can also:

  • Respect their nap time (and your own sleep!), and work activities around naps. Tiredness leads to irritability in all age groups.
  • Try and develop a schedule for predictability. This makes planning for you more straightforward and helps develop cues for a child to eat and sleep.
  • Keep in mind that tantrums are a normal stage of development.
  • Remind yourself that this is a phase every child goes through – you’re not alone!

4 tips to nurture your child’s mental wellbeing

In 2019 the NSPCC revealed that 45% of all Childline counselling sessions were related to emotional and mental health and wellbeing. 

Here are some of the ways that you can support your child in understanding and managing their emotions and mental health:

  1. Be there for them and listen. Let your children know that it’s ok to talk about their feelings and nurture the idea of being open. 
  2. Validate their feelings by taking what they say seriously. 
  3. Support them through difficulties while encouraging them to stay open.
  4. Build positive routines with structure, plenty of sleep, healthy eating habits, regular outdoor time and physical activities.

You can also find information in our newsletter on children’s wellbeing, which we released during lockdown – Top Five Tips to Help Children’s Wellbeing in Lockdown – Childhealthy

If you or your child are struggling with mental health challenges, we recommend getting in touch with your GP to determine any underlying conditions and to ensure you receive the right support. Alternatively, you can book an appointment with our Childhealthy team.

Childhealthy updates

This month we welcome Dr Kerry Robinson to the Childhealthy team. Dr Kerry is a Consultant Paediatrician, with over 20 years’ experience in the NHS and three children of her own – giving her insight into both the joys and challenges of parenthood (a big feature of this month’s newsletter).

February has also seen a rising interest in our nutritional assessments. These are conducted by our Specialist Paediatric Dietician Bianca Parau and can be booked here.

And for those parents who have been asking about our upcoming courses, in March we will be hosting another Weaning Masterclass for parents – which you can read more about and book online here.

New articles

If you’re looking for more insight into all things health-related for your children, our latest advice articles on the website include:

  • Chickenpox in babies – what causes the virus, what the main symptoms are, and how best to manage the virus. 
  • Coughs in children – with the cold weather sticking around for at least another few weeks, being vigilant in response to any new cough or cold symptoms is important. Remind yourself of what to look out for with our Coughs in children newsletter.
  • Meningitis in babies – what causes meningitis, what the symptoms are and how best to manage it.
  • Measles in babies – the signs and symptoms of measles, potential causes and how to effectively manage it.

Finally, for those who still have questions following last month’s newsletter on Vaccines for children, we have released a full advice article on Vaccines – why they are important, and which ones your child needs at each stage of their development.

We hope this helps to answer some of your questions.

How to reach the Childhealthy team

Follow us on our social channels for regular updates from the Childhealthy team, and as always please do let us know about any topics you want to see covered or questions you need answering via email – info@childhealthy.co.uk

Have a great rest of your month and we look forward to catching up with you again next month.

Dr Yiannis and the Childhealthy team

Further Resources

Mental health statistics: family and parenting | Mental Health Foundation

Advice for parents – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Mental health in children and young people | Mental Health Foundation