Our practitioners are all licensed and registered professionals in their field of work, each with either a Masters or Doctorate level of training. We serve children, youth, adults, couples, and families. To book an appointment with a counsellor, please fill out the New Client Inquiry form on our Contact page. The following information provides important details about how to nurture your child’s development, signs to look out for, and how counselling can help your child flourish.
Taking care of our mental health is just as important as having a healthy body. As a parent, you play an important role in your child’s mental health and emotional development. When you’re unsure about what to do, are having difficulty understanding your child’s behaviour, or are seeing significant changes in how your child thinks, feels, and behaves - a counsellor can help.
How can I nurture my child’s mental health?
You as a parent can do a lot to nurture your child’s mental, emotional, and physical development. Some of the key things that parents can do for their children to help their development and cultivate resiliency are:
Help children build strong, caring relationships with peers as well as trusted adults, especially a warm caregiving figure who they can turn to for help - usually this is a parent or close family member
Help children develop strong self-esteem, so that they can feel good about themselves, by demonstrating love and acceptance, recognize both efforts and achievements, help them set realistic goals and encourage their own problem-solving capabilities, as well as show active interest in learning about their interests and activities
Listen to and respect their feelings. Children are learning how to regulate and process their emotions. Encourage them to talk about how they feel - it is OK for them to feel sad and angry. If your child struggles with opening up to you, help find them someone they feel comfortable with talking to
Create a safe, positive home environment. Important things to be aware of include the amount of media and screen time your child uses as well as the amount of physical activity and play. Try to limit the amount of serious conversations you have around your child, as children can start to worry about adult things like finances, marriage relationships, and illness. Be sure to be taking care of your mental health and wellbeing as well, make time to do things that you enjoy. Children greatly benefit from healthy parents
Encouraging problem-solving will help your child develop emotional resiliency. Try to ask questions and guide them through options or possibilities to create change (without taking over!) or helping them to emotionally regulate using deep breathing or relaxing activities
But what if I’m noticing changes that are concerning?
Mental health concerns can show up discreetly or significantly in how a child feels, thinks, and behaves. Paediatricians at Caring for Kids give the following list as a guideline to know when to involve the help of professionals.
Changes in thinking
Saying negative things about himself, or blaming himself for things beyond his control.
Frequent negative thoughts.
Changes in school performance.
Changes in feelings
Reactions or feelings that seem bigger than the situation.
Seeming very unhappy, worried, guilty, fearful, irritable, sad, or angry.
Feeling helpless, hopeless, lonely or rejected.
Changes in behaviour
Wanting to be alone often.
Showing less interest in or withdrawing from sports, games or other activities that she normally enjoys.
Over-reacting, or sudden outbursts of anger or tears over fairly small incidents.
Seeming quieter than usual, less energetic.
Trouble relaxing or sleeping.
Spending a lot of time daydreaming.
Falling back to less mature behaviours.
Trouble getting along with friends.
Headaches, tummy aches, neck pain, or general aches and pains.
Lacking energy, or feeling tired all the time.
Sleeping or eating problems.
Too much energy, or nervous habits such as nail biting, hair twisting or thumb-sucking.
How can counselling help my child?
Counsellors who work with children are adept at recognizing developmental stages and helping your child reach those important milestones. Getting a child help early can help prevent mild to moderate behaviour issues from progressing into something more serious.
Counsellors at Vitality Collective are skilled in building rapport and connection with your child quickly, assessing your child’s development and helping them better process their thoughts and feelings through art, play, or talk therapy. A counsellor can also be a vital resource in developing better parenting strategies and providing education to nurture your child’s development, and also make life easier for you, too.
Our counsellors can help in the following areas:
Emotional processing and regulation
Parenting strategies and plans
Helping children with anxious or depressive tendencies, ADHD, and disruptive behaviour
Increase self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence
Working with specific phobias, nightmares, bed-wetting
Helping children who have a history of adverse childhood experiences (i.e. trauma, domestic violence, critical illness, caregiver mental health or substance abuse issues)
Navigating peer relationships, cultivating healthy friendships, and bullying
Grief and loss
Providing support during or after significant family problems or life transitions (i.e. separation and divorce)