Lincoln – Even in uncertain times, parents have the power to help ensure that they are raising resilient and mentally healthy children.
“It’s normal for children to occasionally have fears and worries, and for them to act out,” noted Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Heath at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. “By helping your child learn healthy social skills and how to cope, you will help your child become mentally healthy and build resilience, even during a pandemic. Whether your children are seeing COVID-19 through a lens of anxiety or are experiencing other changes due to their changing routine or environment, your time, words, and problem solving can help guide them through the uncertainty.”
Tips for promoting mental health in your children:
-Provide unconditional love, safety, and acceptance. Children need to know these are not dependent on behaviors or accomplishments.
-Expect mistakes, accept them, and teach problem solving that grows confidence.
-Encourage play and social activities, try new activities and promote fun versus winning.
-Monitor television and social media and the amount of time for child spends on these activities.
-Provide appropriate guidance, structure and routines and set limits consistently.
-Encourage discussion of feelings to practice processing experiences and new ways of coping. Build a routine where this is part of daily life.
-As a parent, take care of yourself and model behaviors you want to see in your child.
-Talk to your children and help them develop healthy coping and problem solving.
-Talk to your child’s healthcare professional if you have concerns about the way your child behaves at home, in school, or with friends.
Need advice or direction? This toolkit can help you: http://dhhs.ne.gov/Behavioral%20Health%20Documents/Resources%20for%20Schools.pdf
There are no silly questions when it comes to mental health promotion. There are resources available to help you and your child. They include:
-The Nebraska Family Helpline, 1-888-866-8660, can help parents and other callers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
-The Network of Care can help connect you and your child to mental health services: https://portal.networkofcare.org/Sites/nebraska/mh
-If you or a loved one are feeling overwhelmed with emotions such as sadness, depression, anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or someone else, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) (English) and 1-888-628-9454 (Spanish).
-The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids can be reached at 1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373)
Helping People Live Better Lives | dhhs.ne.gov