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HOW TO LOOK AFTER YOUR CHILD’S MENTAL HEALTH
Prioritising a child’s mental health is equally as important as safeguarding their physical wellbeing, particularly when it comes to dealing with stress, behavioural changes and academic pressures. Mental disorders can prevent children from succeeding in school, making friends, becoming independent or reaching their developmental milestones. Regular exercises and eating right can help with your child’s physical health.
What can you do to make sure they are mentally just as ‘fit’? Here are a few tips to boost your child’s mental well-being!
1) Take Care of Your Mental Health
Looking after your mental health is one of the most important things to do to keep your child mentally healthy. Parents should always remember that kids learn by watching your footsteps, which is why you should set a good example on how to deal with stress. Explain to them that stress is normal and can be dealt with calmly and effectively. Some coping strategies that could work are deep breathing, using stress balls, creating art (e.g. painting, colouring, doodling, etc.), or nature-therapy activities such as going for walks or hikes and relaxing at the waterfalls, among others.
2) Foster Healthy Relationships and Built Trust
The relationship you have with your children has a huge impact on their mental health. A strong bond begins with trust. To build their trust, create a sense of safety and security. Find ways to show them that you truly care about them, and that they can always rely on you to keep them safe and healthy. Encourage them to express their emotions. Listen to them and respect their feelings. Be sure to ask questions, keep the communication two-way, keep the conversation flowing and pay full attention to what they have to say. Mealtimes are ideal for family conversations. As parents, you can also discuss possible solutions or ideas to help them to improve a situation or how to achieve their goals.
3) Create a Safe and Positive Home Environment
Keep track of your child’s media consumption, including both the content and the amount of time spent in front of a screen. This includes television, movies, the Internet and gaming devices. It’s always good to be aware of who your kids are interacting with on social media platforms. In addition to that, be mindful when discussing serious family matters with your children, be it about finances, marital problems or even illnesses. These matters can cause immense worry and stress in children. Lastly, make time for physical activities and playtime as a family. Apart from modelling good mental health habits, it is vital to create a safe and healthy environment for your kids, especially through your words and actions. Providing a safe and conducive environment is vital for children’s mental well-being.
Ultimately, parents should keep in mind that children go through developmental changes that affect emotional expression and regulation. It is normal for children to demonstrate drastic differences as they thread through each stage. A healthy and happy child can achieve many things, from being able to concentrate in school to dealing with challenges in life. A child with a stable mental health tends to also have higher immunity and falls ill less often.