As we move into our third year of dealing with the global pandemic, awareness of mental health has grown around the globe. We often think of mental health as something for teenagers and adults only, but young children, too, can suffer from mental health issues. Place2Be, a UK-based, children’s mental health charity, has been raising awareness each year with Children’s Mental Health Week, running from 7 - 13th February this year. This week gives us an opportunity to better understand the struggles that children and young people can go through, and how best to support them.
This year’s theme, Growing Together, has gotten us thinking about ways in which we can bond with our young ones, forming secure relationships from an early age so that they will feel supported for a lifetime. Read on for our top 3 ways to build and maintain bonds with your children!
Consistency is Key
Whatever habits or rituals you have formed with your infant, maintain them! Routine is extremely important for early development, helping to build a sense of stability for your child. Whether it be bath time rituals, mealtimes, or sleep training, regularity helps to form feelings of dependability for your child and gives them something to fall back on when they’re unsure of themselves. As your child grows, communicate with them on what they would like to include in their routines so that they can have more ownership over themselves and grow in confidence!
Although it’s important to be informed about symptoms of mental ill-health, every child is different, and may express themselves in different ways. Though we often think of our children as extensions of ourselves, it’s important to get to know the quirks and preferences that make them who they are as individuals, too! Activities such as baby massage for very young infants, or reading together with toddlers, give parents opportunities to observe how their children react to different stimuli, which then helps to tailor the care they give. Read our blog on The Benefits of Baby Massage for more tips on how to bond with young infants through massage!
No one is perfect, and it is often through striving for the impossible that we find ourselves burnt out and mentally unwell. Take note when you find yourself giving yourself a hard time about your parenting, and the next time you don’t cool the milk down enough or you forget your child’s favourite teether at home, take a breath and forgive yourself! Parenting is a journey, and by learning from our mistakes and overcoming small obstacles, we model the behaviours we hope to instill in our children.
For more information on Children’s Mental Health Week, as well as loads of excellent free resources for parents and guardians, Visit Place2Be’s website here.
Check out our previous blog, Tips and Tricks for Calming Down a Baby, for more soothing tips from the Matchstick Monkey team.