8 activities you can do with kids to improve their mental health



Functional medicine for your children’s mental health is all about providing the tools necessary to navigate life’s daily stressors while balancing the biological chemistry kids need to thrive.

Kids are resilient, but only when they have the proper support to get them through.

See how many of these simple mental health activities you can incorporate at home, and watch as you reap the many benefits of improved mental and emotional wellbeing.

Functional solutions for holistic mental health

The integrative medicine approach to your child’s mental health combines nutritional guidance, supplements, functional diagnostic testing, and behavioral therapy to balance your child’s chemistry with their biological needs and environment.

Integrative medicine for mental health can help your child navigate their strengths and challenges as they develop into an emotionally intelligent, fulfilled, and purpose-driven adult.

1. Begin with a gratitude practice

This activity is incredibly beneficial for children, as well as adults. On paper, list three things that you and your child are grateful for. This activity is often most beneficial first thing in the morning.

Gratitude statements will look different for every child of any age, but the benefit behind this activity is all about shifting perspective.

2.  Set intentions

At the beginning of the day (or as close to it as possible) sit down with your kids and have them list 2-3 things that would make today a great day for them.

As with gratitude journaling, these statements will vary based on your child’s age and interests, but the habit is all about creating intention and focusing on it.

3. Develop a nighttime routine

Few things are as crucial for your child’s mental health and cognition than adequate sleep. In the evening, swap devices that emit blue light (like phones, tablets, or computers) with a book or other activity.

Then, develop a nighttime routine that works for you and your child. For some, this is having a bath and applying some calming lavender lotion. For others, this might be adding chamomile essential oil to their diffuser and reading quietly in their room. This promotes a stable circadian rhythm, or natural sleep cycle.

4. Challenge negative thoughts

Many children and adults are prone to worrying, whether it’s about the future, the past, or just parts of life that aren’t ideal. It’s normal and healthy to have these thoughts, but it’s also beneficial to have a way to challenge them, so they don’t drain your child’s energy, and leave him or her prone to feelings of anxiety or depression.

With practice, you can help your child replace their negative thought patterns. Have your child write down or verbalize worries or concerns he or she has. Then, help them understand how accurate or realistic the thought is.

5. Nurture hobbies and interests

Children and teens develop important goal-setting and confidence in the pursuit of a hobby, sport, or other interest. Encourage your kids to experiment with recreational activities until they find one that suits their interests.

Some children gravitate towards sports, others toward knowledge-based activities, and some enjoy creative outlets like painting or writing. Don’t hesitate to develop shared hobbies with your kids!

6. Have a well-rounded view of mental health

Mental health is heavily influenced by overall health, and this includes physical, nutritional, and emotional health.

Show your kids the benefits of using food as fuel for a healthy body, talk positively about movement and exercise, and set an example by practicing these activities yourself.

7. Help your kids find their “tribe”

Kids (and adults) thrive in groups of their peers. When your child has a close-knit group of supportive friends, he or she is more likely to succeed in both academics and social life.

Children need a supportive peer group with which to share excitement, concerns, hopes, and dreams. Friendship is an important part of social development, as it fosters empathy and emotional maturity.

8. Journaling

Journaling helps children develop “emotional literacy” or the ability to name and recognize a variety of emotions. Daily journaling might seem like a lot to keep up with in a busy family–and that’s okay.

Though it may be sporadic and take encouragement for the first few weeks, journaling is an important part of helping your child with the next section!

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