Fostering Good Mental Health Habits

Mental health like physical health will play an important part of your child’s growth and development, in fact they are closely linked. Children who are stressed or anxious are more vulnerable to physical ailments. Children who are physically healthy are better prepared to deal with the normal stresses of everyday life. The development of good health habits, both physical and mental, not only promote optimal growth and development, they contribute to the enjoyment of life, and the ability to contribute to the common good.

Practice Good Mental Health Habits

Parents are generally aware of the importance of instilling good health habits in their children from a very young age. Brushing one’s teeth, washing hands before eating or after using the restroom become habitual with regular reinforcement and good modeling. In the same way, habits that support good mental health can be introduced at a very young age and can serve as strengths as young people encounter the normal stresses of adolescence and young adulthood.

Children who are stressed or anxious are more vulnerable to physical ailments.

In addition to those habits that help maintain general good health such as a healthy diet, rest, and exercise; Red Flags draws attention to stress management, help seeking and giving, naming emotions, awareness of the perspectives and emotional reactions of others, making wise choices, and maintaining a healthy balance in life activities. Mentioning these good health habits over a five period unit, and actually practicing them are two entirely different things. Habits need to be reinforced and regularly practiced.

There are numerous websites that offer practical suggestions for:

Of course, the practice of good mental health habits cannot guarantee that youngsters will not at some point develop a mental illness. Neither will the practice of washing one’s hands guarantee that someone will not get the flu. But the resilience and social-emotional skills children have developed will cushion them against the damage that can be visited on those who have no defenses.

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Using videos for students and low cost materials for teachers and parents, Red Flags offers schools a comprehensive, affordable, common sense approach to basic mental health education.
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