World Mental Health Day 2023

Setting your child up for future success with their Mental Health!

This October 10th is World Mental Health Day! 

Our children’s life-long ability to tackle difficult situations and manage their mental health begins early on in childhood. In an era where mental health issues are ever prevalent, equipping your child with the best tools to recognise and overcome their difficulties is one of the most important things you can do. Below are a few tips to create a supportive environment which you can use to build your child’s confidence in their

emotional awareness and communication skills.


Talking to your child about their emotions:

1. Use age-appropriate language and tools.

The ability to explain and understand emotions is something that develops over time. Children have a limited vocabulary and experience with how they are feeling so it’s important to use simple language that matches their developmental level. Help them to label their emotions by using words such as “happy”, “sad”, “excited” and so on (see page 2 for a helpful resource).

Books within the Hug-a-Bug World series can be a useful tool to explore emotions with your child; take time to discuss what each character may be feeling as you read through the book.

2. Be an active listener.

Show your child that you are listening and care about what they have to say by asking follow-up open ended questions and by offering reassuring gestures throughout. Don’t try to multitask, instead make space in your schedule to sit down and talk things through uninterrupted  

3. Validate and normalise their emotions.

Explain to your child that it is okay to feel how they do and that their feelings are important. Let
them know that all humans experience difficult emotions at times and that feeling something in the way that they do isn’t “bad’ or wrong’. Sometimes it can be helpful if you share your own
emotions. Model talking about your emotions in a simple manner. For example: “I felt proud that we talked about your feelings today.!’  

The foundations for mental health wellbeing begins in the home:
Creating a safe and supportive environment for children to discuss their difficulties is
vital. This is for both their temporary relief and also to build future confidence in their emotional
awareness as well as their communication skills. Talking regularly about emotions can significantly
contribute to building a child’s sense of self worth. And consequently their emotional
resilience. Self-worth is the intrinsic belief in one’s value and the sense of being
deserving of love, respect and happiness. A child with a strong sense of self-worth is more
likely to embrace challenges with an open mind, feel secure in their relationships and develop the resilience they need to pursue their goals. Therefore, encouraging children from a young age to identify and express their emotions allows them to practise this necessary skill in a secure and non-judgemental environment
At Hug-A-Bug World our goal is to encourage the emotional well-being and natural development in children and with this in mind, storytelling can be a powerful tool for exploring emotions and
practising empathy and social skills. Try out one of our books when talking to your child
about how they are feeling. You can ask which character they feel like they relate to and discuss how the other characters may also be feeling.   Before you delve into the book, it may be helpful to refresh with your child what different emotions mean. Here is a printable worksheet you can use to help
children identify some different emotions.    


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