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The Head, the Heart and the Holidays: Checking on your child's mental health

We want to be a part of our kids' mental health journey, but sometimes we need to check with ourselves to get that inside look.

CLEVELAND — We talk a lot about checking in with your child's mental health, and how to make a connection, but there are so many factors that go into their wellbeing that you might not be thinking about.

Dr. James Leslie of University Hospitals says parents need to check in with their own mental health, as it can be the biggest mirror for what's going on with their kids. Dr. Leslie says now more than ever, it's important to be positive -- but open -- with your kids, especially as they cope with less socialization.

"Young kids are not developing their social skills, teens are losing their confidence in their social skills. Sometimes we hear them say, 'I feel like I'm losing all my friends.'"

If you are worried about how your teen or child is coping with the stress of the world right now, here are the warning signs you should be looking for. In teens, watch for signs like irritability, more isolation and outbursts. In younger kids, signs like poor eating, sleeping habits and temper tantrums are easier to spot. 

While therapy, conversations with your kids, or even time outs can help, there is one thing Dr. Leslie strongly recommends we take advantage of while the holidays linger: Time together.

"It's been great having after dinner time conversations, it's been great."

Dr. Leslie also mentions while you think about your kids' mental health, consider their physical, too. He reminds everyone to get their child vaccinated, or at least a flu shot, to further protect your child.

For resources and tips to further help your child, click here.


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