Your child’s behaviour will change as they grow and develop. Understanding this, while at the same time noticing when behaviours become a cause for concern can be difficult. There are many things that will influence your child’s behaviour. There are lots of reasons why they might need help to understand how they’re thinking and feeling or how they’re affected by the things that are happening around them.
Some of the common early warning signs that will let you know that things may not be right with your child’s emotional health and wellbeing include:
- falling behind at school or college
- refusal to go to school or college
- being more aggressive / disruptive / challenging
- quiet or uncommunicative
- feeling more anxious or sad
- not mixing with friends and spending a lot of time alone
- not eating
- not being able to concentrate.
If you are concerned about your child’s behaviour, or notice that they are displaying usually behaviour, try speaking to your child first, this will help you better understand what’s happening for them. As parents or carers, being aware of times in your child’s life and situations that might cause added pressure, and letting them know that you are listening and supporting them, could be all the help they need. Other things you can do to help them keep well include:
- providing regular healthy meals
- encouraging them to exercise and keep active
- encouraging them to do things they enjoy or see their friends, and
- have a bed time routine.
If you think this isn’t enough and that your child’s difficulties are starting to get in the way of their life, help is available for both of you. Try talking to your child’s teacher or school mental health champion, school nurse, GP, or their social worker (if they have one). They can help you to decide if your child might need some extra help and if they think CAMHS might be the best service to provide this, they’ll make a request for support (referral) to us on behalf of your family.