Looking after your child’s mental health
It’s normal for children to have occasional fears and worries, but some children find dealing with feelings and pressures particularly difficult.
There are many reasons children may be suffering from stress or anxiety. Issues at school, an upsetting event, falling out with friends or picking up on parents’ anxieties.
Since its children’s mental health awareness week this February, here at Higher Nature we thought we’d shed some light on ways we can help children deal with these feelings.
A child may not tell you that they are feeling worried or stressed - young children especially do not have the words to describe how they are feeling. Look out for any change in behaviour including a change in eating or sleeping patterns or complaining of tummy aches. You may notice their marks falling at school or that they start playing up to get attention. They may even develop new habits such as nail biting, bedwetting or tics.
What can help?
What nutrients can help?
A healthy diet is vital to ensure adequate nutrients. Ensure they have protein, fats and carbohydrates with every meal and as many different vegetables as possible! Keep sugar and caffeine as low as possible.
L-theanine is an amino acid found naturally in green tea. Theanine helps feelings of calm, encouraging better sleep and helping to ease anxiety. Theanine has been widely studied for its effectiveness.
Calcium and magnesium have long been associated with sleep – remember having warm milk at bedtime? Working together, these minerals play a role in our sleep/wake cycle; magnesium also helps aid relaxation and is used for anxiety and stress. Magnesium is found in leafy green vegetables, nuts, avocados, lentils and beans. Calcium is also found in almonds, small oily fish, green vegetables, dairy and tofu.
Relax and Unwind is a bedtime drink that contains calcium, magnesium alongside other nutrients such as theanine, vitamin C and vitamin D and is suitable from the age of three.
Omega oils, the healthy fats found in oily fish such as sardines, salmon, mackerel and anchovies are known as an essential fat, which means that you need to obtain them from your diet as your body can’t manufacture them. Omega 3 fats are needed for brain health and consumption can help reduce anxiety. Now, I don’t know about your kids but mine certainly aren’t rushing to the table for a portion of oily fish, so I give them a daily supplement. For vegans or anyone avoiding fish, flax seed oil is a plant based alternative.
Worry Not spray
This pleasant tasting spray containing a blend of relaxing nutrients and herbs, is suitable for children over 13 and may help to restore calm in stressful situations. Perfect to keep handy for exam season.
If you feel that your child is experiencing persistent severe low mood, or if it is having an impact on daily life, please seek professional advice.