Most parents are very conscientious when it comes to their child’s physical health. We all stress about restricting screen time and junk, encouraging consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, and regular exercise, but we give little thought to the mental health of our children and what we can do to improve it.
According to the World Health Organization, health is a state of complete physical and mental well-being and not merely the absence of disease. This simple statement throws emphasis on the significance of mental health.
According to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, one in five children experiences a mental health problem in the United States. This ranges from stress and anxiety to depression and behavioral disturbances. Although some mental health disorders cannot be prevented, we can promote a healthy mind and body in our children through these simple steps.
Improving our mental health
Children look up to their parents for love, protection, guidance, and advice. If parents are not mentally healthy, children can suffer emotionally as well.
- Set a positive example for your children
- Children learn through role modeling, so do not get stressed about small things.
- Undiagnosed mental illness may make it hard for you to discipline children.
- In order for you to provide a stable home environment, you should be mentally healthy.
- Children’s mental health improves when their parents are mentally healthy.
If you think you or your partner have an untreated mental illness, please seek help. Taking care of your mental health is a step in the right direction.
Bond with your children
It is important to foster healthy relationships based on love, trust, and tolerance. Bonding with your children healthy can do wonders for their mental health and happiness. Some important suggestions that might be helpful include:
- Talk to your children
- Plan activities together
- Do not break their trust
- Be consistent and kind
- Be reliable and show them that you are there for them
- Read to your child
- Love them, and do not be afraid to show them your affection.
- Play with them. Playing catch, coloring, or doing crafts are excellent bonding activities and children learn a lot through play
- Plan a Friday night movie together. Laughing with your kids is a great way to remove stress from your life, and it does wonders for your kids as well.
Children thrive on routine. They become very disturbed when moved to a new city or school or when parents undergo a divorce or separation. Their minds become overwhelmed. Some helpful ways in this situation include
- Reassure them of your presence in their life
- Be honest with them and explain to them in an age-appropriate manner
- Be consistent with your rules
- Children crave familiarity, and inconsistency makes them cranky and irritable.
- Establish a daily routine and stick to it
- Keep a fun day for eating out or doing something that you both enjoy together.
- Discipline your children without labeling them
- Hurtful words like lazy or stupid can leave a lasting impact and destroy their self-confidence.
Encourage healthy relationships
Although the relationship between a parent and a child is the most beautiful, encourage your child to connect with the world.
- It decreases social anxiety and improves communication skills
- Arrange play dates with their friends
- Encourage them to help the neighbors
- Simple activities like walking a neighbor’s pet can help positively stimulate the mind.
- Help them connect with their grandparents. Weekly visits or phone calls teach the importance of relationships.
- Keep a pet and help them take care of it. Children learn responsibility and affection and develop a sense of happiness.
Teach them how to destress
It cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to teach your child how to deal with his stress. While a parent may be able to prevent bullying to some extent, it is impossible to remove stress from your child’s life.
- Learning to cope with stress is a vital life lesson
- Encourage them to talk about their feelings
- Help them plan an activity that will relieve their stress. It could be writing a journal, talking to a friend, or listening to music.
- How you respond to stress is also important as children tend to mimic their parents.
- Discuss stressful events with your child and help him develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
Be generous with your praise. When your child does something well, praise him and tell him that he has made you proud. Be specific in your praise and choose words that are believable.
- Motivate them to achieve their goals
- Do not be harsh in your punishments
- Teach them independence
- Encourage them to think outside the box, solve puzzles, and do crosswords. These sharpen their mental skills.
- Teach them how to develop healthy self-talk. Show through your actions and words that you believe in them and that they can achieve whatever they want with hard work and consistency.
Encouraging a healthy lifestyle
Remember that a healthy body is just as important as a healthy mind.
- Encourage regular exercise
- Healthy nutrient-rich food
- Encourage healthy competition
- Athletes have better mental health as they learn to accept their losses and learn valuable life lessons gracefully.
Some children are naturally introverts or shy around strangers. However, if it is a new phenomenon, you should be worried. Some red flag signs to watch out for include:
- Social withdrawal
- Poor school performance
- Persistent sadness
- Crippling anxiety
- Recurrent crying spells
- Inability to sit still
- Lack of focus
If any of these symptoms last for more than two weeks, they may cause concern. However, remember that most of these are caused by small issues that can easily be dealt with patiently.
A word from us:
Only 21% or roughly one-fourth of the children with mental health disorders seek professional help. Remember that earlier diagnosis always leads to better functional outcomes and prevents more serious problems. Counseling helps the child and the parents who may be struggling to understand and cope with their child. We have highly qualified and professional healthcare workers trained in child and adolescent mental health issues. If you are worried about your child’s behavior, please do not hesitate to call us. We are here for you and are just a phone call away. You and your child deserve the best in the world, and your happiness is just a phone call away