Give Your Child A Healthy Mental Environment
We’re all aware of mental health issues like depression and anxiety and how debilitating they can be. However, most people have the misconception that only adults suffer from mental health problems. Contrary to popular belief, kids too suffer from mental health problems.
If you take a moment to think about it, it is far worse for kids, since they’re not as aware and are mostly incapable to express themselves properly. Therefore, it is important that guardians support their kids and help them express their problems.
If you’re someone who understands the importance of a healthy mental environment for children but is clueless on how to help, keep reading. Here are some genuinely useful things you can do to help your kids and give them the support they need!
Communication Is Key
We often tend to not take kids very seriously and they’re pretty aware of that. Always make sure you’re listening to your child and make them feel like they belong.
If a child feels safe enough to talk to you without a fear of judgment, he/she will actually open up. Only then will your kids tell you their problems and take advice.
Active Children are Happier
Try and help your children build their self-esteem through various experiences. Generally, active children are happier, more confident and can express themselves a lot better.
With this in mind, consider enrolling your child in activities like football, basketball, or even encourage camping. Learning musical instruments and art classes are great ways for children to express themselves too. In fact, even something as simple as riding a bike, skateboard or hoverboard would do wonders for their self-esteem.
Always encourage their hobbies and interests, and support their curiosity about things. Even if your child is into something as unusual such as collecting bugs or researching historical facts, encourage them and help them nurture that interest.
Spend More Time Together
The best thing you can do for your child is to spend quality time with them. This will improve your relationship and allow them to communicate with you more wholeheartedly.
Normally, we tend to do more conventional things like watching movies together or playing video games. While this is great, make sure your child isn’t glued to the screen for too long. Extended periods of TV watching, video games and the internet can be detrimental for your child’s mental health. Try out more extracurricular activities with your child, that don’t involve electronics. Physical activities are always a great physical and mental health booster, and there is honestly no harm in engaging in them.
So, what are you waiting for? Play a game of ball, or tag with your child, or even try out a water fight!
Your Actions Matter
You might have noticed how children love imitating their elders. While we usually find these situations funny, it is important to understand that they copy us in more serious matters as well.
How you deal with things, the way you react, what you say – everything is observed and followed. Your kids look up to you so it’s your job to set a good example for them! Also, if you yourself can’t cope with life’s situations, what advice will you give to your kids?
Motivation Goes a Long Way
Kids love rewards, and since we’re trying to encourage them to build self-esteem, it’s only right to reward them for facing their fears.
Rewards act as motivation for them to continue being brave. So, if your child went ahead and auditioned for something they were too scared to do, or if they rode their bike a certain distance that they planned to, reward them!
Now, the rewards don’t always have to be toys or other materialistic things. That would be quite ridiculous. Rewards should be hi5s, praises, hugs, pats on the head, outings, and maybe occasionally some candy.
Try to make your child follow certain house rules such as, eating healthy, having a proper sleep schedule, and perhaps even a separate meditation time.
Being consistent with these rules is necessary, as children do need some sort of discipline in their lives. You should explain why these rules are important and follow them yourself as well.
Be sure to let your child know that failure is a part of life. If he/she fails a test or loses a race, do not berate them. Instead, teach them to learn from their mistakes and work harder to get better results!
What You Should Look Out For
Every child is different and not all children are going to be bubbly and outgoing. There are kids who are more pessimistic or shy or in general more worried than others. But there’s always a limit to this, so you have to be on the lookout to understand when the issue is serious.
- If your child has had a change in mood for more than two weeks, there is something obviously wrong and you need to address the issue.
- If your child gets anxious or worried about very normal situations like going out or going to school, you should pay attention.
- Sudden changes in academics, friends, eating habits and sleeping times are also some major red flags.
- It is important that you talk to school teachers and people regularly in contact with your child to understand his/her behavior. Even things like attention span and how he/she is treating fellow classmates are important!
It may not be easy for us to understand, but like us, children too have ups and downs in life. In a lot of cases, none of these behavioral or mood changes are permanent. However, it never hurts to be careful and aware of how your child is feeling.
In case of more serious issues, you should definitely get professional help. It is extremely important that you do not make your child believe something is wrong with him/her.
Counseling and therapy actually help people cope with mental health problems. Also, remember that no age is too young. In fact, the earlier the better, because that ensures more time for your kid to recover.
Childhood is a crucial time for a person’s development. The mental health of a child is as equally important as their physical health. Only if guardians are observant and active in their child’s life, can they identify such issues and help their kids.
People suffering from mental health problems need all the love and support they can get. As you’ve seen in this article, helping your child doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. All you need is to love and communicate with them openly.
So, here’s hoping you follow these simple tips and create the safe and healthy mental environment that your child deserves!