father and son at kitchen table

Coping Strategies For Families

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Healthy coping and self-soothing strategies are often effective tools that help us manage the effects of stress and intense emotions. These strategies have also been shown to help moderate the relationship between stress and the development of more severe health problems, such as depressive symptoms and physical health concerns. Mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health.

What is coping?

Coping commonly refers to an individual\’s effort to regulate emotions, cognitions, physiology, behavior and situations in reaction to stressful events or challenging circumstances. In other words, coping is anything that one does in an attempt to manage stress. During stressful situations, coping skills can help to diffuse or \”turn down the volume\” of intense emotion, allowing for increased control over an individual\’s response to the situation.

10 Coping Skills For Families:

  1. Connect

Pro Tip: Connection with younger children happens less through direct conversation and more through play and shared activity, so be aware of when and how your child usually opens up

  1. Move

Pro tip: Ask your child if they’d like to choose an activity to ‘move our bodies or if they’d like you to. This way, you can offer them some control if necessary or not if they’re overwhelmed.

  1. Slow down

Pro Tip: Simply allow an open and unscheduled chunk of time for your child to navigate. Pretty easy right?

  1. Play

Pro-tip: Push through your adult discomforts and don’t be afraid to get silly with your child! Allow them to direct the play and meet their needs for control and predictability.

  1. Journal

Pro-tip: Use these engaging emotions flashcards for kids (fresh off the press!) to prompt them in writing how they feel and why.

  1. Create

Pro-tip: Prepare an inviting surface (this might mean putting down a tablecloth, tray, etc) for your child, and set out a few different art tools for them to choose from.

  1. Music 

Pro tip: Spotify has tons of great playlists for relaxation or check out Nancy’s great collection of music for kids.

  1. Nourish

Pro tip: Make a healthy recipe with your child and reap the benefits of a better mood, fun, and connection.

  1. Meditation

Pro tip: Check out the best tools for mindfulness with kids that promote calm and focus

  1. Problem Solve

Pro Tip: Use these goal setting resources for kids to make it super simple for you and your child.

  1. Go Outdoors

Pro-tip: Bring an ‘indoor activity’ outside! Simply grab your lunch, some books or a board game and do them outside instead.

Mental Health Resources for Families:

American Academy of Pediatrics-Mental Health Resources for Families (aap.org)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)- Resources for Families Coping with Mental and Substance Use Disorders | SAMHSA

Child Mind Institute-How to Model Healthy Coping Skills – Child Mind Institute

NAMI-Mental Health Education | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

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