Learning and wellbeing are closely linked and children and young people with good wellbeing are more engaged and successful learners.
Our schools and preschools have a range of supports in place to promote positive mental health and wellbeing.
An important service leading the way in this space are our team of Student Wellbeing Leaders who work across sites to empower both staff and students to understand and achieve positive mental health and wellbeing at school and home.
Riverdale Primary School's Student Wellbeing Leader Maureen Williams says a key aspect of their role is talking with parents about supporting their child at home with both developmentally normal 'bumps' as well as complex issues.
To acknowledge Mental Health Awareness Month, Maureen provided us with some easily achievable tips for parents to help support their child's mental health at home.
1. Model and teach self care
Balance is essential for positive mental health. Having technology free times, going to bed at a reasonable time, incorporating some activity, and treating yourself occasionally is a great way to instil healthy habits in your children. It is also important to let children know that it is okay to seek help when they need it.
2. Support your child to learn positive behaviours
Children learn from experimenting and sometimes their behaviours will be inappropriate. Adults need to support them to understand the consequences of their behaviours and help them to make better choices. Remember to praise positive behaviours and correct your child calmly if needed. It can be more helpful to correct behaviours in private so they don't feel ashamed.
3. Quality time is key
Spend at least 15 minutes of quality time listening to your child each day. Often children don't want solutions, they want to feel heard and empathised with. Be creative about when and how such as going for a walk, eating dinner as a family, colouring in together, or cooking dinner together. They key is no technology during this time so you can be present in the conversation.
4. Build support networks
Children benefit from having a range of support networks they can lean on. At times children want to talk with someone that isn't their parent, especially as they become adolescents. Ensuring there are other trusted adults who children can go to increases their safety net and exposure to other positive influences.
5. Create safe boundaries and routines
Negotiate with children and establish clear boundaries and routines as this provides clarity and a sense of safety. Understanding what the boundaries are and why they exist can help children to develop healthy routines and boundaries for themselves.
More resources to support your child's mental health can be found at Mental health and education - children and teenagers and Raising Children Network.