Creating Good Mental Health Foundations with your Kids | Mental Health Monday

This article is sponsored by Blank Children’s STAR & Developmental Center.

Des Moines Mom is committed to creating a safe space for ongoing conversations about mental health. 

family conversations

Mental health concerns in children, adolescents, teens, and young adults are on the rise. As moms, we want to do our best to help our children and to create good mental health foundations for them. In our latest Mental Health Monday conversation with Jen Stimson, Manager of the Blank Children’s STAR and Developmental Center, we discuss ways we can support our children’s mental health at home. 

mental health monday

Jen Stimson is the manager of the Blank Children’s STAR and Developmental Center in West Des Moines. She is passionate about mental health and creating safe spaces for kids to talk about their feelings and challenges. 

Tips for Creating Good Mental Health Foundations

1. Create safe spaces where your children can feel all of their emotions

Creating a safe space where your children can share their feelings and emotions and talk to you, is so important. Normalize having conversations about feelings and make it part of your family’s daily routine. And momma, it’s okay to routinely try and fail at doing this. The important part is to keep trying!

2. Validate your child’s emotions

As hard as it is, don’t automatically move into “fix-it mom mode” when your child comes to you with a feeling that is difficult for them. Sit with your child and allow them to feel that emotion and think about why they are feeling what they are feeling. 

3. Normalize emotions

Emotions might feel scary or worrisome to your child and make them not want to talk about them because they think emotion is a bad thing. As parents we need to help our kids to not feel ashamed about their feelings and possibly internalize the feelings instead of opening up about their emotions.

4. Model regulating your own emotions 

Don’t be afraid to talk about your own big feelings or needing to use a coping skill to deal with that emotion. Kids are always watching and when they see us struggling, it helps them to know it’s okay to not be okay and that we’re trying our best too. And again momma, if at first you fail, try, try again!

Watch more of my conversation with Jen Stimson about “Creating Good Mental Health Foundations with your Kids.”

Connect with Jen Stimson

jen stimsonJennifer Stimson is the Administrator of Blank Children’s STAR Center – Child Advocacy Center, Foster Care Clinic, Drug Endangered Children Clinic, Growth and Nutrition Clinic; Blank Children’s Developmental Center; and Blank Children’s Psychology Services. She received her Master’s in Public Administration from Drake University and her Bachelor’s from Iowa State University. Prior to coming to Blank, Jennifer managed the Victim Witness Program at the United States Department of Justice and served as the Victim Rights Coordinator for the Iowa Department of Justice.  She lives in Clive with her wife and their five boys.



Thank you for making time to help normalize the conversation about mental health. In this ongoing monthly series, we will be talking about mental health for ourselves, for our kids, our spouses, and our families. 

See more of our conversations about Mental Health

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Kara originally hails from northwest Iowa where she met her husband, Lance, through a 4-H fashion show. After a decade of living in central Iowa, Kara is still figuring out which way is north. Wearing the hat of “wife, mommy, employee, chef, ribbon tie-er and family calendar organizer,” Kara knows a bit about juggling life and work. Kara became a boy-mom in June of 2011 to Lucan and a girl-mom to Gracelyn in December of 2014. Most days you can find her mixing up metaphors and oversharing life’s moments via social media. Kara enjoys yoga, reading, gardening, cooking, sewing in straight lines and singing along to musicals. A spender by nature, but thrifty by necessity, Kara is always in hunt of a bargain. She’s an active member of Northpoint Church and a resident of Grimes. Her vision for life includes “doing the best we can with what God gives us.”


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