“The parent-child relationship is the most powerful mental health intervention known to mankind!”-Bessel van der Kolk
The key to a child’s success is the constant involvement of the parents. When it comes to the growing years of a child, mental health is something that needs constant attention. This is where the right parenting leads to wonders.
Childhood is a vulnerable period. Children tend to get easily influenced by people and situations around them and mirror all kinds of behaviours. This, in turn, has a long-term effect on their mental health and personality development. Showing the right path to your children should always be your priority.
So, here’s a list of 6 steps we suggest to foster your child’s mental health!
6 Tips to Support Your Child’s Mental Health
⦁ Be Your Child’s Ally:
Children often tend to feel unsafe and insecure because of confusion and less emotional maturity!
Before anyone else, you should be their best friend, safe haven and go-to person to ensure they feel loved and cared for. Always support and accept them as an individual to build trust and faith.
Your relationship with your child should be positive, reaffirming and trustful. Always try to be attentive to their signals and needs, as children nurtured by responsive parents have better emotion management, social skills development and great mental health!
⦁ Constant Communication
Mental health issues arise when children have no one to talk to about everything they are going through. A parent’s responsibility is to always be there for their child during such times.
Communication is the key to everything and building trust in your child definitely needs constant talking and active listening. Being open to honest conversations with your child will encourage them to come to you first when there’s a problem!
When you talk with your child,
⦁ Be present.
⦁ Listen first, respond second.
⦁ Be reassuring.
Another benefit? You’ll support your child to integrate different parts of their brain so they work as a whole, which means lesser tantrums, cooperative behaviour, and better mental health.
⦁ Spend Time With Your Child:
Your children need your presence more than your presents!
As a parent, you must make it a point to consistently be with them as they learn more from what you are than what you teach them. Laughing and playing with them proves to be a stress reliever and helps build stronger bonds ensuring positive regard and overall, a good mental health.
⦁ Monitor Your Child’s Mental Health:
Any disturbances in a child’s mental health are reflected in their behaviour. Learn to look for early signs of frustration, anxiety and low mood and immediately talk to your child.
Try to form your own way of asking your child about the level of stress or anxiety they are facing on a particular day. Questions like “How scared are you, on a scale of 0-10?” or “Do you feel extremely stressed or moderately stressed?” always help.
Be observant and make note of changes in your child’s behaviour like becoming quiet and withdrawn. Ask people around you to keep a check on your child’s behaviour and inform you immediately if any drastic changes are seen!
⦁ Develop Your Child’s Self-Esteem:
Creating a sense of belonging is the greatest thing you can do for your child. The sense of being connected and welcomed is important to children’s adjustment, self-identity and sense of trust.
You can help them develop their self-esteem by:
⦁ Showering love and showing acceptance.
⦁ Praising them genuinely.
⦁ Helping them set realistic goals and giving them independence.
⦁ Encourage Development of Healthy Habits:
According to a psychiatric study, nearly 50 million Indian children suffer from mental disorders at any given point of time. This usually happens due to unhealthy lifestyles!
Parents who want to ensure complete well-being of their child must encourage healthy behaviour like proper diet, exercise and a good sleep schedule in their children.
Nobody can escape stress. Children should be taught how to deal with it by encouraging them to take up activities like maintaining journals and diaries. Incorporating mindfulness and self-care routines also helps immensely!
At Walkertown Academy, we fully advocate mental well-being of children and make sure we do our part by focusing on personal, social and emotional development to help children become well-rounded individuals.
Let us know in the comments how you ensure your child’s well-being!