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Healthy Minds, Healthy Families!

Because mental health impacts how people think, feel, and act, caring for our minds is just as important as taking care of our bodies. Mentally healthy children are more likely to have a positive quality of life and are more likely to function well at home, in school, and their communities. And families play an important role in their child’s mental health. At Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning, we offer Family Success Centers as our families are their children’s first teachers and integral to everything we do.

Eat, Sleep, Move, Talk!

Some of these strategies are simple. We all know that certain foods are better for us than others. While many people know that eating well helps us look and feel our physical best, not everyone realizes that good nutrition significantly affects our mental health. A healthy, well-balanced diet can help us think clearly and feel more alert. It can also improve concentration and attention span, which will help your child’s learning journey. Instead of the highs and lows experienced from eating high-sugar foods, food packed with protein and nutrients gives us maintained energy.

Food also brings families together. Cooking and eating meals together helps to strengthen family bonds and create lasting positive memories. Mealtime allows everyone to share what is on their mind around the table.

Getting enough sleep is vital to everyone’s mental health. As any new parent or guardian knows, without enough rest, we become irritable, depressed, and distracted. Controlling your emotions is harder, and little things upset you more. Routines such as having a set bedtime and a set time to wake up are a great foundation for healthy minds in your family.

The benefits of exercise also go beyond the physical impact. Whether you are dancing in the kitchen with your children or going for a bike ride around the park, studies show that exercise can boost your mood and keep your brain healthy.  

Talk –take a moment each day for each child to have time to discuss anything they are concerned about, things they love, or things they don’t like. This will allow you to keep a close watch on their emotions and may also give you some ideas of what you can do to support them.

All these positive childhood experiences help create safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments so children develop a sense of belonging and connectedness. Not only that, but positive experiences can also protect children’s mental health by buffering them from the impact of potentially harmful negative experiences that can affect lifelong health.

No one’s life can always be perfect – but the good times you build within your family form ‘mental protection’ for the rest of their lives.

Of course, sometimes children, like adults, can experience mental illness, although the signs may differ. For example, you may notice your child being sad for weeks, leaving social interactions, not sleeping, or avoiding school.

Many resources are and talking it over with your child’s educators can help you find ways to support your child and get early and appropriate help.

And don’t forget to practice self-care to keep yourself mentally healthy. The Centers for Disease Control shows that poor mental health in parents is connected to poor mental and physical health in children. There are some great online resources to give you ways to explore your emotions, learn to reduce stress, and get help in a crisis.

By thinking about ways to support mental health within your family, everyone will be better able to handle life’s ups and downs by building strategies that strengthen mental resilience.

Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning are subsidiaries of Milton Hershey School and will be staffed and operated independently of the Milton Hershey School core model.

Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.