It’s essential parents take the necessary time out for their own self-care. When you support your own needs, you’ll be better able to support the needs of your children. Here are a few ways Save the Children recommends parents can prioritize their own mental health:
– Do your best to maintain a routine for yourself, including good eating, sleeping, and physical activity patterns
– Regularly “pulse check” your own feelings and emotions
– Talk to another trusted adult about how you are feeling
– Utilize realistic self-care techniques: this could include things like meal planning, so later in the week you don’t feel as stressed, or keeping your closet organized
– Recognize when you need extra support
As children grow, it’s normal for them to experience ups and downs day-to-day, depending on what’s happening at school and with friends and family. Some simple ways to support the child in your life are to:
Connect frequently with your child: Have regular check-ins during morning or evening routines, asking open-ended questions while doing activities together. Daily “pulse checks” with your child can also provide regular opportunities to reinforce all the good things they can look forward to tomorrow. If you have more than one child, you may want to find a unique or special way to communicate with each one.
Establish a safe space: Create a feeling of safety between you and your child, and in your home. They will feel safe talking with you when you have the tough conversations.
Prepare your child for new situations: Talk through any small or big changes that are coming in their lives – their first day of kindergarten, an older sibling going to college or getting a shot at the doctors. This will let them know what to anticipate, which can help ease worry or anxiety. While doing this, it may also be helpful to include ways your child can make decisions and have some control.
Validate your child’s feelings: Tell them it’s ok to feel and express their emotions. And by allowing them to identify and name their feelings, you can help them develop coping skills, while also normalizing the emotions in the context of the situation.
Talk through the tough times: Be honest about the facts, use language and terms your child understands, acknowledge how hard/sad/frustrating what they’re going through must be, provide physical comfort and come up with solutions together.
Seeking help is often the first step towards getting and staying well, but it can be hard to know how to start or where to turn to. It’s common to feel unsure, and to wonder whether you should try to handle things on your own. But it’s always ok to ask for help – even if you’re not sure you if you need it.
You might want to seek help if you’re:
– worrying more than usual, finding it hard to enjoy your life
– having thoughts and feelings that are difficult to cope with, which have an impact on your day-to-day life
– interested in building your support network.
Help Available To You
If you live in Delaware County, contact Delaware County Mental Health Clinic, in Walton by calling (607) 832-5889.
If you live in Otsego County, contact Otsego County Mental Health, in Oneonta by calling (607) 433-2334.
If you live in Chenango County, contact Chenango County Behavioral Health Services, in Norwich by calling (607) 336-1600, option 2.
Another statewide resource is to contact Rehabilitation Support Services at (518) 464 – 1511
These resources offer individual therapy, family therapy, children and youth services, as well as other emergency and treatment services. They accept most insurances, questions on insurance eligibility may be best answered by your insurance provider.