With Ontario’s ongoing lockdown and state-of-emergency, it continues to be a tough time for many families, but staff with FIREFLY say it will be especially tough on youth.

Recognizing that this winter will be difficult, FIREFLY staff have gathered a number of child and youth mental health tips to assist, adding that help is available for you or your child by contacting them.

1. Focus on gratitude
Take a few minutes to think of the things you are grateful for and encourage children to do the same. That is not to take away from how challenging things have been over this last year, but rather, it’s an opportunity to recognize that some good things have been happening, too.  

2. Embrace winter
Having a positive mindset about winter may encourage you and your family to think of new ways to get outside more.

3. Collaborate with kids on plans
Take time to collaborate with your children and family on activities to stay busy. If your teen is feeling unmotivated to go out, try to really understand what’s behind their feelings. Ask if there is anything new that they are interested in trying. It gives you a chance to help them shift how they may be feeling.

4. Stay connected
Talk to children and teens and ask what methods of connecting with friends is best for them. Is there a virtual program they could do together? Depending on your child’s interests, it could be something like a shared online yoga or dance program.

5. Stay active
Going out, even on cloudy days, will give you a dose of much-needed natural light.

6. Keep healthy habits and routines
Prioritize the healthy habits you normally have, such as getting enough sleep, eating healthily, and exercising regularly. Routines – and knowing what to expect in the day – can be especially helpful to children with mental health issues.

7. Reach out for help
If you are not sure what your child is experiencing is normal or if they need help. Help is available from child and mental health experts who can talk to your child or you, or both.

If you’re looking for supports, FIREFLY says you should call their Centralized Intake line at 1-833-696-5437, for both youth and parents, or by emailing intake@fireflynw.ca.

For more information:
Children in need to get more help