COVID-19 Updates


Tips on Improving Children’s Mental Health Post-Pandemic


Here are some tips on how to improve your child’s mental health

Many children and youth reported worsening mental health as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns, and increased screen time. As we recover from the effects of the pandemic, supporting children’s mental health will be a priority for many parents. Developed in consultation with Heather Bywaters, a public health nurse at the Middlesex-London Health Unit, here are some tips on how to improve your child’s mental health.
Tip #1: Invite your child to talk about their feelings
It is important for children to understand that they need to take care of their mental health and start to learn how to manage their emotions at a young age because the coping mechanisms children learn early will carry them through the rest of their lives. Talk to your child about mental health and encourage them to talk about their feelings so that they know to reach out when they’re struggling. A great place to start is teaching your child the names of different feelings so that they can easily identify and learn to express them.
Tip #2: Teach your child coping strategies and the importance of self-care
It’s important to teach your child how to cope with their emotions and role model positive coping strategies. Teach your child the things you do to cope with your emotions, such as taking deep breaths, listening to music or going outside and invite them to join you. Being outside has numerous benefits on mental health and with the summer weather there’s so many opportunities to get your child outside and teach them the benefits this has on their mental health.
Tip #3: Reduce screen time and increase outdoor activities
Screen time has increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and while an increased reliance on screens was unavoidable during this time due to the many closures, it’s important that we try to reduce screen time and prioritize active outdoor activities. There’s nothing like experiential learning for children, so encourage them to put down the phones and other screens and teach them fun activities they can do outside. Going for bike rides, walks or playing at a park are all great ways to get your child outside, active and off screens.
Tip #4: Work on your own mental health
We’ve all been through trauma as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and it takes time to heal. It’s important to be patient with yourself and know that you are not alone if you're struggling with your mental health. One of the most important things you can do to help your child is taking care of your own mental health because by taking care of yourself, you’ll be better able to take care of your child. Reach out for help, implement a self-care routine by meditating, having a relaxing bubble bath or cooking a nutritious meal, and prioritize your mental health. If you are struggling, please reach out to Reach Out (24/7 Crisis Service) or the Middlesex-London Health Unit at (519) 663-5317 and they can connect you with affordable resources and support.
Note: this article contains information sourced from a local subject matter expert and New research reveals impact of COVID-19 pandemic on child and youth mental health.