Maintaining your child's emotional wellbeing
Encouraging emotional wellbeing and resilience in your child gives them the best opportunity for a great start in life.
It means when they are faced with difficult life events, they are more able to cope.
This page suggests some things you can do as a parent or carer to help your child. It also has links to local services and national resources.
What can you do?
- Spend time with your child. Quality time is more important than the amount of time. Set aside time each day to engage in activities directed by your child. Give them your undivided attention
- Actively listen to them. Listening shows your child you are interested in what they have to say and helps you see the world through their eyes. You don’t have to agree with what they are saying but listening shows you respect them and teaches them self-respect
- Let your child know everyone experiences pain, fear, anger and anxiety. This may encourage them to open up to you. When children are upset listening provides emotional first aid
- Help your child understand their emotions. When your child’s behaviour has been difficult, naming their emotions can be helpful. Try offering an emotional reflection once they are calmer, for example “I can see you were feeling angry, was it because.....?” This will help them use language to express themselves instead of behaviour
- Support your child’s interests. Helping your child identify and develop the things they enjoy will help them thrive
- Discipline constructively, fairly and consistently. When children do things that are wrong, focus on teaching them and not punishing them. Speak to your health visitor or school nurse about local parenting courses which could help
- Teach your child to make their own decisions. We often want to tell children what to do to fix things. This can reduce their decision making skills and confidence. Listen to them and ask them “what do you think we should do?”. Let your child know you are willing to help and support them. Help them think through the various possibilities
- Teach your child mistakes and setbacks help us learn. Show your child that mistakes and setbacks are an opportunity to learn and improve. Teach them effort and practice are key to success. When setbacks are no longer scary children are more willing to try new things
- Don’t ignore signs your child is struggling. Be aware of changes in behaviour which could mean your child is struggling. If your child shows unusual amounts of worry, low mood, fear, anger or stress it is important to get them the help they need. Speak to your child’s teacher, health visitor, school nurse, or GP
- Take care of your own emotional and mental health. It is important to remember that how you are feeling has a big impact on your child and how they feel. See our looking after yourself page for more information
Other local resources supporting children and young people with their emotional wellbeing and mental health include:
Calderdale Open Minds
Bradford Youth in Mind partnership
Wakefield WF I Can
These organisations have information on supporting your child's emotional wellbeing and a range of mental health conditions.
Royal College of Psychiatrists information on mental health for parents and young people
This may help has videos with advice on supporting your child's mental health
Little Parachutes are picture books for young children that help children cope with different experiences and worries