Children’s Mental Health Week is a time to reflect on the importance of mental health amongst young people and take positive action. The initiative was launched by Place2Be, a charity that provides counselling, mental health support and training in schools. This year’s theme, Growing Together, is all about growing emotionally and finding ways to help each other.

As an organisation that works with young people to support their education, we see first hand the benefits of good mental health on learning, development and achievements in school. We’re committed to raising awareness and talking openly about mental health to help young people thrive. Here, we’ve put together some top tips for parents based on the theme of Growing Together, helping you support your child’s mental health in school and other learning environments.

Tips to Look After Your Child’s Mental Health in School

  1. Encourage healthy, supportive friendships. Having a supportive peer group is so helpful for children of any age. If your child attends lessons with us, you’ll know that we keep class sizes small to build confidence in a friendly environment – we know this isn’t always possible though, and in school, bigger class sizes can feel overwhelming. Talk to your child about any social anxieties they may have and help them build confidence outside of school where possible, so they’ll feel empowered to form new friendships.
  2. Be there to listen. Ask your child how they are and give them the chance to talk to you in depth about the way they are feeling. Take what they say seriously – you can support emotional growth and development by letting them know their feelings are valid. If they’re struggling with something, encourage them to open up and work proactively towards a solution together.
  3. Help your child to get fully involved in school. Talk to your child about their interests and help them pursue them. Find out if their school has any relevant extra-curricular clubs, or look further afield. Equally, encourage your child to take steps that will help them advance their education. Whether it’s doing their homework with a friend, going to revision classes, becoming a prefect, or something else entirely, help them identify opportunities for self-development and growth.
  4. Use Place2Be’s resources. The charity has a wide variety of free children’s mental health resources for parents and carers to use – they know you play such a vital role in your child’s mental health. Find practical advice, as well as activities you can complete with your child to help them think about past and future emotional growth.
  5. Ask your child what they need from you. This is a useful conversation to have with older children who might have a better idea of what support they need. It might be as simple as helping with homework, or your child may be suffering from exam stress and would like help with revision. Whatever it might be, offering to help will show your child that they can rely on you.

Children’s mental health matters. We’re always happy to talk to parents about mental health and how we can best support the pupils who attend our centre.