Joyous Health Recipes Food
Joyous Health Wellbeing Well-Being
Joyous Health Beauty Beauty
Joyous Health Family Family
Previous Episodes 

5 Ways to Support Your Child's Mental Health

Taking an active role in cultivating a healthy mind in children plays a big role in how they feel on a day-to-day basis.
Oct 13, 2023 | Joy McCarthy

When I originally wrote this article, it was a couple of years ago and we were in the midst of the pandemic and the stats on kids and their mental health were not getting the media coverage they deserved. Many children and teens are still suffering and world events are not helping the cause. Even if your child or teen is not currently suffering from a mental health concern, these strategies I'm sharing help support mental health and prevent mental health problems. 

Mental health tips for kids

5 ways to support your child's mental well-being. 

1. Get Some Calm Vibes Flowing in Your home

It is no secret that meditation effectively lowers stress and anxiety and has been proven time and time again in thousands of studies worldwide. Rather than waiting till your child seems "off" try to make it a practice a few times per week.

Try Meditation. As you know, I meditate daily and it is how I keep anxiety in check. I use the Calm app for myself and Vienna! They have an awesome "Calm Kids" section with meditations that are only 3-5 minutes long. She loves the Thomas the Train one! 

Try Yoga. Cosmic Kids Yoga on Youtube is another great option for younger ones 3-12 years of age with fun and story-themed yoga classes. We do a class 4-5 times per week! They are particularly good when Vienna is cranky or "bored". Jamie, the woman who does the classes is absolutely fantastic!


2. Children need to know they are loved, they are safe and secure

I know I'm Captain Obvious here, but if there's one thing I've learned reading parenting books and subscribing to Dr. Laura Markham's newsletter, children need to feel safe and secure to thrive. How can you provide that environment? It's simple, free and something you can do right now. Give them extra hugs and assurance and let them know they are safe and secure, especially if your child has an anxious personality. As the old saying goes... 

Hugs quote

3. Support their Gut Health with Fermented Foods

There is much emerging research on the link between gut health and mental health. We now know that gut bacteria play a critical role in our mental well-being and supporting your child's microbiome is key to many factors of their wellness. Serotonin, a key neurotransmitter for mental health and happiness is primarily made in the gut with the help of gut bacteria.

At least once per day, give your child fermented foods. Examples: sauerkraut , kimchi, kombucha (check the sugar content first), miso, tempeh, yogurt , kefir and apple cider vinegar. My daughter loves 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar in her water. The earlier you can introduce these foods the better, but it's never too late.

4. Cultivate Togetherness

You might be thinking "no sh%t sherlock", but togetherness does not mean you're all watching TV at the same time or sitting around a table with your nose in a laptop or staring at a computer. 

The togetherness I'm talking about is interacting with one another and doing something you all enjoy, together. I've got lots of ideas to cultivate togetherness such as:

  • Do a puzzle together as a family (this is a personal fave of ours), it's incredibly meditative for everyone!
  • Choose a recipe out of your favourite cookbook (hint, hint) and make it together as a family. Studies show that families who eat together have lower instances of children with depression, higher self-esteem and confidence. A bonus is that children who eat with their parents eat more fruits and veggies
  • Go for a family nature walk, a McJordan family fave!
  • Turn up the music and have a dance party!


5. Check yo'self!

Are you a complete stress-bag of nerves and anxiety?

Children pick up on everything in the home and they are a mirror reflection of you.

If you're not taking care of your own mental health and well-being, how can you expect your child to manage their own emotions when they are feeling stressed or anxious? What are your daily rituals to cultivate happiness and calm vibes in your home? It's never too late to start! 

There is no perfect way to parent. So please don't beat yourself up if you have been struggling.

My hope is this post gives you some ideas on ways to support your child's mental health if they are struggling.

Please feel free to share your own ideas in the comments below on how you are cultivating a healthy home for your children to thrive.

Big hugs,

Joy xo

emanuela   •   February 23, 2021

Love this stroy. A great and well-needed reminder for us all. thanks Joy!

Joy McCarthy   •   February 23, 2021

Chelsea   •   February 23, 2021

We are doing yoga as a family, doing 'Time ins' when emotions get really big, and working more and more on doing even basic things together as a family, like baking, walks, crafts, even watering the plants together! The more we do as a family, the more our toddler gets her cup filled (and ours too) :)

Joy McCarthy   •   February 23, 2021

Florence   •   February 23, 2021

Hi Joy, I am so happy you've written this post, to broaden the base of persons realizing the negative impact of lockdowns/masks on children. In the daycare of my daughters, the caretakers had to remove their masks, otherwise babies were crying so much it was impossible to manage. No wonder, babies' brains are wired to recognize a human face by looking at the combination eyes nose lips. Kids have an extremely low chance to get severe COVID disease, and don't significantly spread the virus... What we as a society are doing to our kids is revolting me. I've tried to raise awareness in my own family

Joy McCarthy   •   February 23, 2021

Janet   •   February 24, 2021

A significant post. Thank you!

Joy McCarthy   •   February 24, 2021

Heidi   •   February 24, 2021

Such a great read and many useful tips. We love Allison Twitch! Going to try Cosmo kids yoga. Thanks for sharing!:)

Joy McCarthy   •   February 25, 2021

Jenilyn   •   February 24, 2021

My 6yo and my husband both love your recipes, so that for sure is something I try and do with my daughter. Oh, and I love them too!

Joy McCarthy   •   February 25, 2021

Tina Schulz   •   May 20, 2021

Thank you joy for reposting this! This is so important and to make more people aware. My 19 year old son has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression since the pandemic, and it is heartbreaking to see a once happy grade A student who had lots of friends to socialize with, who was always singing in the shower and throughout the house, to now staying in his room studying and zoom classes and only coming out to shower ( no more singing) and eat. We have after months of waiting just got him into seeing a counsellor. So hopefully it helps. So it isn’t just young children, all ages have been affected by the pandemic in one way or another which is so sad . Thank you for posting this and making your followers aware . I had no idea that so many small children were impacted in these ways due to the pandemic. I will be getting together with other parents, friends and coworkers to to forward your suggestions to parents of children in our community. It is a small step but a start that will hopefully bring parents together and begin a movement to a larger community.

Joy McCarthy   •   May 20, 2021

Cindy   •   September 7, 2021

Thank you so much for this post. My son is 12 and immunocompromised so not in school again this year and being an only child it has been very tough not seeing his friends as much . We are always looking for ways to have fun, enjoy our days and manage his anxiety. You have inspired me look at the positive every day and make this year a special one for him. We love Cosmic Kids, never too old for her fun yoga!

Joy McCarthy   •   September 10, 2021

Post Comment

Welcome to thoughtful, organic beauty

Hello Joyous is an organic, plant-based, sustainable beauty brand here to bring more joy to your day.