Teaching Good Mental Health Habits To Your Children

Teaching Good Mental Health Habits To Your Children

Your children are vulnerable not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. Since they are still undergoing significant developments, make sure to instill good mental health habits in them.

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Children’s Mental Health

Your children’s formative years, which last until eight years of age, are crucial to their social, behavioral, cognitive, and physical growth.

Building good habits for their physical, social, and mental health will affect them later in life. As much as possible, help them avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms early on.

Children are very susceptible to trauma at a young age. According to recent surveys, 15 million of our children can be diagnosed with a mental health illness, while only 7% of them receive proper care.

So, do your best to provide your children with a childhood worth remembering. Steer them toward positive and healthy habits. Make sure to surround them with loving friends and family. As parents, you must show them appreciation by praising their commendable actions. And if they fail or disappoint, you have to give them constructive criticisms.

Good Mental Health Habits

Giving your child quality care and unconditional love can go a long way in ensuring their development. To do so, here are some healthy practices you can integrate into your daily activities.

  • Staying Physically Healthy

Physical fitness helps your child achieve the necessary developmental milestones for their age. Besides, physical health and activity can also affect their mental health. Recent studies have linked a low diet with poor mental health in children and adolescents. 

Prepare your child nutritious and balanced meals and encourage them to eat by being a role model. Eat your fibrous carbohydrates, lean proteins, leafy greens, and low-fat dairy products. 

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Caring for your physical health also means drinking enough water and getting enough sleep. Proper sleep not only aids in your child’s brain development but also improves mood and reduces stress.

  • Expressing Thoughts And Emotions

You always have to remember; your children are children. They can be immature and unreasonable because given their age and naiveness.

Your children are yet to develop a solid foundation for healthy coping mechanisms. So, harshly scolding them may only lead them to think that cruelty is the only way to seek accountability. 

Try to understand their situation by talking to them. Let your children express their feelings not only when they’re happy, but also when they’re sad, upset, or angry.

If they’re crying or throwing a tantrum, give your children enough space and time to react and reflect. Don’t aggravate the situation by yelling with them.

Instead, approach your children when they’ve calmed down so you can communicate with them effectively. Ask them what’s bothering them and let them know you’re willing to work with them towards an agreeable solution.

  • Participating In Healthy Social Group

Children also need to develop their social skills. Make sure they are in a caring environment to encourage them to think and act healthily. Give them enough time to bond with their friends as long as they know their limits. 

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Your children will learn to create and bring out their personality when immersed in a group. Playing games is also helpful in developing social skills such as empathy, communication, and sportsmanship. 

  • Sharing Quality Time

Your children may enjoy their time with their friends, but they also need to spend time with you. Spending quality time with your children will strengthen your relationship. If they feel safe and understood in your presence, they’ll be more open to you. 

Spending time with your children can also be a huge stress reliever for you. Enjoy your moment with them to let them know they are a priority. Your behavior towards them matters because you are your children’s first role model. Make it count! 

Building Self-Confidence

Your child needs to learn how to appreciate themselves. Help them realize they are more significant than their failures and achievements. Celebrate their successes, but remind them how you’re praising their efforts, too—and not just their school medals.

Building your child’s self-confidence early on will help them realize their worth more easily. Once they know they matter, they can better maintain healthy habits. Their thoughts and actions will also be affected, and soon they’ll have learned how to make better choices by themselves.

Aside from these, having good self-esteem will help your children discover who they are. If they’re used to healthy practices, you can be sure they’ll also have a personality rooted in love and kindness.

Looking Out for Symptoms

However, you have to remember how these healthy practices are only precautionary measures and not absolute treatment options. If you notice severe symptoms interfering with your child’s daily activities, seek professional help.

The earlier the diagnosis, the easier the treatment. Attention-deficit or hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and also generalized anxiety disorder are some of the common issues associated with young children.

A therapist or psychologist can treat and help manage these disorders. 

Benefits Of Having Healthy Habits

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Teaching these good mental health habits is not enough if not done consistently. Practice these habits and check-up on yourself and your children from time to time. Through repetition of these practices, you will start doing these naturally.

Once you’ve ingrained these habits in your life, your thoughts and actions become healthier. Your children will learn how to handle their emotions better, therefore living healthily without being forced.

All these habits are there to give your child the right environment and memorable experiences. With an enjoyable childhood and proper supervision from professionals, your children’s development will move towards healthy and holistic well-being. 

Modern Family: What It Takes To Be One During The ‘New Normal’

It has been seven months since the first case of COVID-19, and the whole world has been changed in too many ways. The health care systems are reaching full capacity, while educational institutions are facing challenges.

Groups have been dismantled, as quarantine guidelines have been imposed with masks and social distancing becoming the essentials of this new normal.

Even the smallest unit of the community is adjusting. The parents who have always been traveling to work every day, and teenagers who have been studying in far-away universities now sit in front of shared desks at home.

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The boundary separating work and personal life have become blurry since parents started to adapt to a work-from-home scheme. The home that used to be the place of rest has now become an office, school, and quarantine facility.

At the rate that the pandemic is going, we will be spending more time with our families for the next few months. And no matter how much we love our family, staying with them 24/7 may not be how you dreamed of spending your year 2020. So what can we do to adapt to this new normal fully?

Check For Updates

Information is essential, whether it may be about the pandemic or your relatives living far away. With the imposed quarantine protocols, meetings with relatives are no longer viable.

Be sure to turn on the news every day to read up on things to do and avoid during this pandemic. After all, there are so many things yet to know about the virus.

Checking for updates also involves calling your relatives or friends. Call them to ask how they are holding up and let them know that despite the distance, that you are there for them. After all, social distancing only requires a 1-meter physical distancing and not social isolation.

Improve Communication

Communication has always included both words and gestures. But now, when physical interactions and gatherings are prohibited, communication has become strictly confined to words or memes exchanged over the internet.

While communication mostly involves links to the outside world, it also consists of the connection you have with your family. Now that you are all in one house every day for 24 hours, you must develop better communication skills.

Everything that used to be common sense and unspoken rules – like who gets to shower first or who will wash the dishes – needs to be discussed thoroughly. Effective communication would help you and your family avoid grave disagreements over petty reasons like scheduling.

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Set Limits

As Mark Twain once said, too much of anything is bad. Sure, taking overtime might yield extra cash or even put you up on the right side of your boss, but remember that more work hours can also increase your electricity bills.

Aside from that, overworking yourselves may only lead to the obsession of getting office work and academic requirements done, which can then lead to added stress and, eventually, to burnout. This rule not only applies to those family members who are already working, but also to those still in school.

You must monitor the time they spend staring at their computer screens. And if they want to learn more in advance or do their homework ahead of time, be sure to help them out and encourage seeking references from printed modules or books to avoid overworking their eyes.

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Learn Together

With the strict protocols to ensure physical distancing, most functions have converted to remote means that include gadgets and the internet.

Over the months of quarantine, different kinds of applications have been emerging to support remote tasks. There’s Zoom, Trello, and Slack to support both online work and online learning.

While these applications are user friendly, one still needs to learn its basics and to adjust to such an environment. Old parents may have a hard time understanding all the nuances of computer applications. Ask for the help of your tech-savvy teenager.

In contrast, younger children may have a hard time focusing on their screen and avoid opening other tabs for videos or games. Be patient in teaching your toddler how to behave. Now, more than ever is a time to be one with your family.

The thing is, adjusting to these new normal is a challenge for everyone, and the only way to be able to cope with these progressive technologies is by learning together.  

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Surely these changes might not have been the ones we asked for when we dreamed of a fresh start for the year, but these changes are ones we have to comply with to ensure our safety.

Some changes might be hard to get accustomed to, but so long as you remember these simple steps, you can easily overcome these changes with your modern family.

Why Kids Should Know About The Coronavirus

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There is a little debate going on among my friends who also happen to be parents like me. One of them told the group that she was having second thoughts about talking regarding the coronavirus with her kids around. She said, “I want them to be as child-like as possible. I don’t think they need to know about this pandemic.”

Everyone expressed their opinions about it. When they asked me, I told them that my children are aware of the coronavirus from the moment that their school canceled regular classes. Some people agreed with me, but I knew that others did not, considering they did not open the topic again. Still, I stand by my decision to make my kids know about the current situation because:

It Will Go Down In History

From the get-go, you know that getting rid of the coronavirus does not mean it will be forgotten soon after. Many experts have made it the focus of their studies; news outlets worldwide cover updates about it one too many times every day. Hence, I will be more surprised if this outbreak does not go down in history.

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When you tell your kids about the coronavirus, they can understand why some things happen these days. For instance, non-front-line workers cannot go to work, and students cannot go to school. Although they may only realize its full scope later in life, it won’t be too challenging for them to relate when the teachers discuss the matter at school.

Safety Can Come From Knowledge

The children are not short of wanting to hear more details about a specific topic like the coronavirus. After all, it keeps them from going out and doing everything that they usually do during a school break. And a part of they tend to ask is, “How can I make sure I don’t catch the virus?”

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That’s when you can teach your kids the significance of having clean hands and feet and wearing a face mask all the time. It should not be too complicated, given that the coronavirus genuinely spreads when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or at least talks in your personal space. You can also get it if you touch anything where their saliva has previously landed and used the same hand to touch your face.

You Cannot Shelter Kids From The Ugly Fact Of Life

Moreover, you should not deprive your children of knowledge about the virus because it exists, no matter how ugly this fact may be. You cannot evade them every time they ask why they cannot see their friends or play at the local park. If I’m honest, it is even unfair for them not to know what’s happening and why.

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I know how much you want to shield your little ones from this scary truth. I am a parent, too; I feel your worries. Despite that, believe it when I say that kids are the smartest people you’ll ever meet. If you explain the circumstance and assure them that you are protecting yourselves by staying at home, they will take it well.

Final Thoughts

Your children are in their most formative years right now. They love learning; they want to know everything. Why should you insist on hiding the coronavirus information to them when it may be able to keep them from contracting it?

In case you have not told your kids about the virus yet, change your tactics and do it now. Just choose to use the words that are appropriate for their age so that the knowledge will surely stick. You will be doing them a favor by doing so—trust me on that.