If you are like most parents, you are probably very meticulous about taking your children to their routine doctor visits, getting their immunisations administered, giving them nutritious food, and helping them in day-to-day activities.
Your whole world revolves around them and you want to do your best to provide them with everything they need. You keep yourself involved in their school activities, encourage them to excel in academics, and support them in their decisions.
But how often do you find yourself worrying about their mental health? A child’s mental health is just as crucial as their physical health. Particularly now when they are coming out of two years of isolation and getting back to attending regular onsite classes.
According to the CDC, 1 out of 5 children experiences mental disorders such as anxiety and depression every year. While not all mental health issues cannot be prevented, there are still a few steps that you can take to improve your child’s state of mind.
Anxiety is referred to an emotional state of worry, tension, stress, and physical symptoms such as shivering, giddiness, and rapid heartbeat. Nearly 7% of children may develop anxiety between three and 17years. In case of depression, your child will constantly feel upset and lack interest in activities they enjoyed before. About one in eight teens suffer from depression. These issues harm a child’s actions, feelings, and thoughts.
Anxious children may suffer from panic attacks, unusual anger, and irritability, worries about social acceptance. Some other signs include:
Depressed children may show signs of irritability, feeling of sadness, altered eating, and sleeping patterns. Apart from that, they may also exhibit signs of:
If you suspect that your child is going through a rough patch and needs support to boost their mental health, these five tips should help.
Your relationship with your child can play a major role in their mental health. After all, the base to a solid relationship begins with trust. One way to establish trust in your relationship is by creating a sense of security and safety. Find ways to demonstrate to your children that they can approach you for anything, whether it’s to fulfill a physical need or an emotional one. Be consistent, honest, and caring towards them. Show them that you have their back. Create a relationship where your child trusts you with their safety and happiness.
A parent-child relationship is vital, but it’s not the only relationship that matters. To ensure your child’s healthy mental health, you must ensure that they also have a healthy relationship with other family members such as grandparents, neighbours, as well as friends, and other family members.
Even if you love to spend alone time with your munchkins, give them the opportunity to interact and connect with other people so that your child can share their concerns with other people besides you. If you live far from your loved ones, then think of creative ways to connect your child with everyone. Arrange a virtual call with friends and family members.
While it is important to protect your child from traumatic events such as bullying or abuse, you cannot always prevent them from experiencing stress. Stress is a part of life and learning to deal with it in a healthy way can help secure your child’s successful future. Prepare them for all kinds of stressful scenarios and suggest healthy ways to cope with them.
Prioritise de-stressing activities in your children from an early age. Encourage them to journal, meditate, go for a walk or a jog, self-care, and indulge in their favourite activities.
Teaching healthy habits to your kids can keep both their bodies and mind in good shape. Set up a healthy routine for your child, such as waking up and sleeping on time, consuming healthy foods, and exercising a little bit daily. Maintaining a fixed routine will boost your child’s physical as well as mental health.
Moreover, certain studies have noted that mindfulness can have a positive impact on mental health. Therefore, incorporate mindful activities into your routine to improve the entire family’s mental health.
Some children are a little more self-conscious and pessimistic in nature than others. And that is not necessarily a problem. But there’s a line where normal struggles turn into a matter of concern.
If you notice your child feeling sad or extremely anxious about situations such as meeting new people, then that could be a problem. Similarly, if a change in their behaviour persists for more than two weeks, it could be a sign for you to give your child’s doctor a call. Don’t get too worried though. The problem might not be that serious or long-lasting. Try to have a conversation with your child first and ask them about what’s concerning them.
Try to be as proactive as you can and support your child’s mental health in the safest way possible. If you see signs of a problem, visit a therapist and discuss your concerns. Remember, early intervention can be key to treating mental health issues as effectively as possible.