10 things every child needs to have healthy mental health.
10 things that every child needs to have a healthy mental health
Since the pandemic has hit the world it has become crucial for parents of young children to help them learn about healthy mental health and ways to help them maintain it. Here are some tips to help parents about how they can help their children have healthy mental health.
- Routine: uncertainty feeds anxiety and stress. Not having a clear routine will leave children stressed and anxious due to the unpredictability of the next event happening in their day. Having a routine for most part of the day, and setting clear boundaries about following a timeline (eg. TV time, Bedtime) helps to reduce frustration in children as well as in parents. Routine helps children to know what is expected of them and hence reduces stress in them.
- Habits to maintain physical health: Healthy body has a healthy mind. Exercises and healthy diet habits have a significant positive impact on maintaining mental health. Research has proved that Unhealthy food habits are directly related to symptoms of stress and depression, whereas healthy food habits are linked to increased feelings of happiness, reduced mental distress and improved quality of sleep.
- Playtime: Play provides necessary space for children which is very important for physical as well as mental health. Play gives them an opportunity to interact with others, learn to regulate emotions, children find moments to enjoy from an early age and ensure that children remain engaged and interested.
- Attachment style with parents and primary caregivers: attachment style is the way children relate with others. Attachment styles are typically formed in early childhood experiences and they reflect in the kind of relationships they form as adults in future. It includes the way children respond to others emotionally, behaviourally and their interactions with others. An unhealthy attachment style promotes a sense of insecurity, anxiety and traumatic experiences in children. Developing a secure attachment style can be challenging for parents and may need help from professionals in order to help their child to develop a secure attachment style.
- Addressing emotions and feelings on a regular basis: using generic terms such as okay or good or talking only about your good and positive experiences in a day/life doesn't allow a child to learn more about complex emotional experiences and ways to handle them. Talking about difficulties and challenges you had in a day, stressful or frustrating situations helps children to learn vocabulary for a variety of emotional experiences. In addition, the way you handled it gives children an opportunity to acknowledge and accept that there can be challenging situations in their lives. It helps them to give a realistic perspective about life and helps
- Boost to their self-esteem and confidence: Assuring children that they are capable of achieving their goals, giving positive feedback for their small yet significant achievements, helps children to develop self-esteem. Positive feedback can remain with children for long periods of time. Positive encouragement increases feelings of pride and confidence and reinforces to repeat the behaviour.
- Healthy Social Circle: peer relationships play an extremely important role in child development. Social health is a significant part of balanced mental health. Having a psychologically nourishing social circle where healthy competition, support and care for other team members or members of the group, space to share creativity and ideas, opportunity to present a child's skills and lead others, and emotional give and take help children to shape their mental health.
- Monitor behavioural changes: child's behaviour and participation in daily chores is the 1st sign that can be absurd to sense as a parent if something is amiss. If you observe that your child has withdrawn or isolated from their friends, family or routine recently it may be a sign that they're experiencing a situation or feeling that they don't know how to process on their own. Assuring them that they are loved, providing space to talk about challenges they are going through and giving support helps them to cope with the situation.
- Model healthy coping Skills: Modelling is the primary way children learn any basic life skill. Talking to your children about positive as well as challenging experiences, practising skills to cope with your emotional difficulties - for eg. Using a stress ball, practising art, exercising, practising mindfulness or actively seeking therapy help children to understand healthier ways of coping with frustrating situations.
- Seek Professional help if needed: There might be times when the situation can be overwhelming and as a parent, you might get confused about how to help your child to cope with difficulties he/she is displaying behaviourally. Sometimes learning to parent in a healthy manner also looks like an unsolvable puzzle. Seeking professional help not only to help your child cope in a healthy manner but also seek help as a parent to learn about healthy parenting styles and attachment styles can help you to maintain harmony psychologically.
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