If you’re like most parents, you’re probably extremely conscientious about taking your children to well-child checkups, immunizing them, providing good meals, and assisting them with their homework. But how frequently do you consider how to look after your child’s mental health?
When it comes to coping with stress, behavior, and academics, a child’s mental health is equally as essential as their physical health. According to World Health Organization estimates, one out of every five youngsters suffers from a mental illness each year. While not all mental health problems can be avoided, you can help your kid be as mentally healthy as possible.
Take good care of your mental well-being.
Taking care of your own mental health is one of the finest things you can do to keep your child psychologically healthy. You’ll not only be modeling good mental health practices, but you’ll also be creating a better atmosphere for your child.
Remember that children turn to their parents for guidance on how to handle stressful and anxiety-provoking circumstances. Make time to relax and de-stress in addition to addressing any mental health concerns.
Your children learn by observing you. As a result, make sure you provide a good example for how to deal with stress and preserve excellent mental health.
When parents’ mental health concerns go untreated, their children are more likely to acquire mental health difficulties of their own. This means you should see your doctor if you’re depressed, have lost energy, or notice changes in your eating or sleeping patterns. These signs and symptoms might indicate that you’re suffering from depression or anxiety.
Keep in mind that untreated mental illness can make family life unstable and unreliable. It can also make it difficult to discipline your children, as well as damage your connection with your partner or other family members. When this happens, it might have a negative impact on your child’s mental health.
Furthermore, when both parents have mental health issues, children are at an even higher risk of acquiring mental illness. So, if you or your spouse is suffering from a mental illness, get help. When a parent obtains treatment or medication for mental illness, research suggests that their children’s mental health symptoms improve as well.
Create a sense of trust
Your connection with your children has a significant impact on their mental health, and a strong relationship begins with trust. Creating a sense of safety and security is one approach to create trust.
This involves taking care of your child’s bodily and emotional needs, such as when they’re hungry, thirsty, hot, or cold, or when they’re afraid, nervous, or unhappy.
And, by all means, follow through on your promises and say what you mean. Your children rely on you to be reliable, honest, and loving. Find methods to show that you care about them and that they can rely on you to keep them safe and healthy.
Promote Positive Interpersonal Relationships
Children’s relationships with their parents are important, but they aren’t the only ones that count. A psychologically healthy kid will have a variety of relationships, including those with grandparents and cousins, as well as friends and neighbors.
Even if you’re the sort of parent who prefers to spend quality time with your children alone, make sure they have opportunities to interact with others, particularly their best friends. Keeping these ties strong may make a huge impact in your child’s mental health.
The significance of consistency cannot be emphasized. Predictability and structure are important to children. They want to know what activity they’ll do next, what penalties they’ll face if they disobey the rules, and what rewards they’ll get for being good.
Things like relocating to a new place or going through a divorce may cause upheaval and significant changes for children. When they’re having trouble dealing with their emotions, they tend to retreat, become nervous, or act out. Maintaining consistent discipline and ensuring that your children are aware of what to anticipate on a daily basis will assist them in managing their emotions.
Similarly, provide structure in their daily life to help children prepare for new school years and other transitions. Create a regular routine, keep a calendar, and schedule a family fun day every week.
Instruct on stress management.
While it is critical to safeguard your child from trauma such as abuse and bullying, you cannot prevent stress from occurring. Stress is an inevitable part of life, and teaching your child how to cope with it in a healthy way now can set them up for future success.
For example, they are certain to encounter conflicts with friends and flunk school tasks at some point in their lives. Give your children the tools they need to deal with those situations right now to help them develop mental strength.
Teach your children good stress management techniques. This might imply spending more time together and discussing their concerns. However, follow your child’s lead in terms of how much talking they want to do. Excessive chatting can sometimes exacerbate tension and anxiety.
Assist your youngster in customizing their stress-relieving hobbies. While one youngster may find stress relief by writing in a journal, another may choose to contact a friend when unhappy. So, when your child is coping with a difficult situation, find specific activities your child can do to keep their stress levels in check.
Create Healthy Habits
A good night’s sleep, a nutritious diet, and lots of exercise aren’t only excellent for your child’s physical health; they’re also important for mental wellness. Teach your children to establish healthy habits that will benefit both their bodies and brains.
Mindfulness and appreciation, according to research, can have a significant influence on mental health. As a result, include mindfulness practices in your everyday routine. You may enhance the mental health of the entire family in the process.
A parent’s role in helping children build their self-esteem, which can improve their mental health, is dual. First and foremost, you want to contribute to your child’s self-esteem. Second, you should educate your children how to cultivate their own sense of self-worth. To do so, follow these steps:
Give honest, realistic compliments. Saying statements like, “You’re the smartest kid in the whole school,” will not help your child build a healthy sense of self-worth. Avoid complimenting someone on aspects of their appearance or intelligence that they have no control over. Instead, congratulate them on their efforts and avoid over-the-top praises (kids can see through them).
Give children the chance to be independent. When children are able to do tasks independently, they feel better about themselves. Whether you’re teaching your children how to take an online class or demonstrating your faith in them by allowing them to create their own grilled cheese sandwich, youngsters feel good about themselves when they can exhibit competence.
Assist your youngster in developing positive self-talk. It’s tempting to reply, “Of course you’ll be excellent at math,” when your youngster says, “I’ll never be good at arithmetic.” However, this will not assist them in developing a more positive internal conversation. When your youngster expresses anything bad, ask questions such, “How could you improve?” or “What proof do you have that this isn’t true?” Assist your youngster in reaching more healthy conclusions.
A healthy child, both physically and intellectually, must play. Adults, too, need to have fun! Set aside work, chores, and other responsibilities to focus entirely on your child. This demonstrates to your child that they are valuable minutes in your life.
Healthy play has also been proven in studies to help children in a variety of ways. For example, one study revealed that when children play, their chances of being joyful rise while their risk of sadness and anxiety lowers.
Furthermore, laughing and playing with your child are excellent stress relievers for both you and your child. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to forget about life’s difficulties for a time and simply enjoy each other’s company.
You’ll not only build your relationship and bond with your child by playing with them, but you’ll also have a lot of fun. Seeing a parent let go of their anxieties might inspire children to do the same.
Keep an eye out for red flags.
Some youngsters are more self-conscious or gloomy by nature than others. That isn’t always a bad thing. However, there is a point at which everyday problems become cause for alarm.
There might be a problem if you notice your kid seems unhappy or worried in regular settings, such as meeting new people.
A change in mood or behavior that lasts longer than two weeks might also indicate a problem.
Keep an eye out for difficulty concentrating, inability to sit still, and difficulties focusing on the work at hand. Difficulty functioning in such areas should raise warning flags and prompt a visit to the doctor for your youngster.
But, before you get too worked up, keep in mind that the situation could not be as bad or as long-lasting as you think. A small amount of stress might lead a kid to show a few alarming indications, but this typically passes.
Seek professional assistance.
Only 21% of children with a mental health problem receive care, according to estimates. 10
As a result, the great majority of children with mental health issues are not receiving the care they require.
It may seem like a dramatic step, but seeing a mental health professional for a child is never too early. Even if only one kid is showing signs of mental illness, it may be beneficial for the entire family to seek treatment. Counseling can not only assist your child’s mental health, but it can also give resources and support to the parent who is experiencing difficulties.
A Message from the Ladela School
Maintaining your child’s mental health should be a priority. However, if you notice any symptoms of a problem, speak with your child’s doctor about your worries. Early intervention is crucial for the most effective treatment of issues.
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