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Resources

How to check on your child’s mental health

Redkite’s team of social workers are experts in child counselling and have some suggestions that may help you connect with your children.

Download the ‘Feelings Thermometer’ worksheet to help children talk about their emotions.

Download
Children playing with instruments

As parents, we always want our children to be healthy and happy. Adding cancer into the mix means there’s a whole lot of extra pressure on your child’s mental and emotional wellbeing – whether they’re watching a brother or sister go through treatment, or they’re the one being treated. It can be hard to find the right time or the right words to ask them how they are doing, especially when they might be struggling with some big emotions.

Redkite’s team of social workers are experts in child counselling and have some suggestions that may help you connect.

1) Put your child at ease

Find a comfortable place where your child feels calm, comfortable and likes to talk. Often children choose to share things during an activity, so you might like to try chatting to them during a favourite game or hobby. This could be Lego, playdough, basketball or colouring in – anything that your child loves doing, to put them at ease and in the right frame of mind to share their thoughts and feelings.

2) Listen with your ears and your eyes

Children share what is going on for them through their behaviour as much as their words. Look for their body language and other non-verbal signs. Don’t try to fix everything for your child – sometimes listening is all they need.  

3) Let others help

Remember that it is ok to ask for help from others to check in with your child. Some children may be more at ease sharing what’s going on with an aunt, a grandparent, a teacher or a counsellor. Redkite is here to help too. We provide free counselling for children up to 18 years.

4) Regular check-ins

Things can change quickly for children, so it is important to keep in touch frequently. They may not tell you much every time you try, so if they don’t feel like expressing themselves, check-in again another time.

Using an activity like the ‘Feelings Thermometer’ may help children express themselves easier. The worksheet can help parents and carers gauge how their child is coping with their emotions and use it as a check in to encourage children to be mindful of how they are feeling.

The Feelings Thermometer

  • Please download and print the below worksheet.
  • You can print a new copy every time you’d like to check in with a child and ask them to colour in the thermometer to match the feelings they feel in that moment, OR;
  • Laminate the worksheet and use it to regularly check in.

Download the ‘Feelings Thermometer’ worksheet.

Download

5) Make time – even if it’s a bad time

Most importantly, be open to responding to children when they come to you with something important, even if it’s an inconvenient time. Your child has been brave enough to share what is really going on for them, so don’t let this chance pass you by.

Redkite provides counselling for children aged 0-18 years who have been affected by cancer. This includes the diagnosed child, their brothers and sisters, friends and relatives. We also help provide music therapy on-ward in most children’s hospitals Australia-wide.

Redkite’s children’s counselling is free, unlimited and available for all children affected by childhood cancer.

Learn more

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