How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children

It seems like as moms we are often focused on the physical health of our children. After sitting in the doctor’s office with my three-year-old son yesterday afternoon, I know that has been true for me the past few days. From being up at night with him sleepless and coughing to being strung out during the day with him cranky and irritable, I’m ready for him to feel better! But good health isn’t just about his physical state. There is another component of my children’s well-being that often needs my focus: their emotional health.

Open Lines of Communication

Just as exercise is important for physical stamina, open lines of communication are important for emotional strength. I want my children to feel comfortable talking with me about anything. At the Pure In Heart Conference for moms and daughters where Ainsley and I were last weekend, the girls were encouraged to talk with their moms about anything and everything. That’s what I have always urged my children to do. I want them to feel an ease and a security in approaching me with whatever is on their minds. It might be the need to talk about hurt feelings. It may be the need to confess a wrongdoing. It might be the need to ask a question they want answered. Whatever the case, that’s why I’m here.

Your Response is Important

But if I’m going to tell my children that I’m a safe place for them to approach with anything they want to talk about, then I had better be ready to respond in love–not anger; patience–not frustration; understanding–not aggravation. You can’t respond with anger when your child is sharing honest feelings with you. Your response determines whether or not they are going to continue to share things with you.

The Family Table

That’s why the family table is so important. What you put on the table, whether it’s pizza, tacos, or stir fry, is just as important as the atmosphere that you create around the table. When children know they have a place that is filled only by them, when they know that what they have to say will be heard, and when they know that what is being served was made with love, it is the family table at its best. It is a beautiful picture of the physical and the emotional coming together in perfect balance. Studies have shown us that you can’t separate the two. According to, “To have good emotional health, it’s important to take care of your body by having a regular routine for eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep, and exercising to relieve pent-up tension.” Those fundamentals of good health create both physical and emotional wholeness.

Children’s health is at the top of every mother’s mind. What’s your favorite tip for raising a healthy baby? By replying, you will be entered to win an exclusive Million Moms Challenge Gift Pack, which includes an iPad2, a custom-made Million Moms Challenge pendant and a $50 donation in your name to Global Giving.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs November 14 to December 18, 2011. A random winner will be announced by December 20, 2011.

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