It’s so important to stop and think about the mental health of our kids. This especially rings true as the days start to get shorter and colder! Without reservation, here are our top mental health tips for kids this Autumn and Winter.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is one of our top mental health tips for kids. This is because it is essential for pretty much all of our physical and mental functions. Additionally, neuroscience studies suggest that a good night’s sleep helps foster both mental and emotional resilience. On the other hand, sleep deprivation sets the stage for negative thinking and emotional vulnerability. The younger you are, the more sleep you need. This makes sense when considering how much we grow during our early childhood. Experts recommend the following per day:
- Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours (including naps)
- Infants (4-12 months): 12-16 hours (including naps)
- Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours (including naps)
- Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours (including naps)
- School-age (6-13 years): 9-12 hours
- Teens (14-17 years): 8-10 hours
Sleeping requirements do not change from season to season (unless recovering from illness). Therefore the want for your child to sleep longer should try to be avoided. Some general tips for a good nights sleep for kids include:
- Waking at the same time each day (and if cold, keeping warm with heaters, hot showers, warm clothing etc.)
- Spending time in sunlight or bright lights during the day
- Exerting their physical energy (at least two hours before bedtime)
- Limiting their access to bright lights and screens after sunset (or adjusting the light to red light)
- Having a relaxing routine before bed (such as having a bath, reading a bedtime story etc.)
The Sleep Solution Book is a great read full of tips, ticks and exercises on how to get the best nights rest.
Eating enough nutritional food is another important part of child health and wellbeing. We can give them the best nutrition by providing colourful, organic wholefoods. More specifically, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fermented foods and fatty fish are believed to have positive mental benefits. On the contrary, too much sugar and saturated fats can be negative.
Food preparation is a great teaching opportunity that can also help us connect with our little ones. Plan ahead with a meal prep plan and spend time together trying new recipes. The Wedo Game features a fun family activity involving a pizza competition!
Keep Moving / Get Some Sunlight
The cold weather can make it hard to get motivated, so it’s good to get creative! Indoor activities like yoga and dancing are great to do at home together as a family. Still make sure to get outside, as sunshine has huge mental and physical benefits. Get rugged up and spend time together gardening, hiking or riding, or cheer them on at their sport games. It’s important to find a physical activity that your child really enjoys, so trying different things is important!