Mental health and well-being

9-12 years

As parents and carers, supporting your child's mental health and well-being is just as important as supporting their physical health. 

Your attention to your child’s mental health and wellbeing is a powerful tool for their growth and happiness.

Why your child's mental health and well-being matters

As your child begins to grow and navigate their world, they start to face different emotions. 

Helping them to understand and express their feelings and emotions can influence your child’s self-esteem and:

  • How they feel about themselves and others
  • Provide them with the skills to cope with life's challenges.
  • Support them to build positive relationships
  • Lay the foundations for better mental health and well-being in adulthood
anxious child looking through a rainy window

Just like adults, children can experience moments of anxiety, worry, or unease. These emotions can stem from reactions to changes or uncertainties in their surroundings. While every child is unique, if you observe these feelings persisting or becoming overwhelming for your child, consider seeking extra support. See further information below.

Remember, you're not alone, and taking that extra step can provide valuable reassurance and assistance for your child.

Some common signs and symptoms 

  • Being consistently sad, moody, or easily frustrated. 
  • Withdrawal from activities and friends. 
  • Trouble falling asleep, waking during the night, or sleeping too much. 
  • Frequent complaints of headaches, stomach aches or other physical symptoms. 
  • Loss of appetite or overeating. 
  • Difficulty concentrating, trouble focusing, making decisions, or completing tasks. 
  • Unexplained outbursts of anger or aggressive behaviour. 

Help for your child 

Knowing what to do if you see your child struggling can be difficult. If you have concerns about your child’s mental health and well-being, try to be kind to yourself – parenting is different for everyone, and it’s not always easy.
You can help support your child by: 

young boy with parent or carer

Barnardo’s resources on Looking after your child's mental well-being offer helpful information and you can find out if there is a Barnardo’s support team near you. 

Try to speak to someone you trust about what’s happening. You may find it helpful to seek support from your doctor, child’s teacher, or school nurse. 

You can also find strategies from Mind to help you cope.

When should I seek more help?

If your concerns about your child's mental health and well-being such as

These should always be addressed right away by seeking professional help. If you need to speak to someone independent, you can call the NHS urgent mental health helpline, or text ‘Shout’ to 85258 for 24/7 mental health text support. 

Further information

Last updated on 6 March 2024