As parents, we know what must be done to keep our children physically healthy.
You name it. Feeding them wholesome, nutritious food, promoting good exercise habits, having the best products for them, and regular doctors visits to keep them in tip top shape. However, when it comes to our children's mental health, we may not have such a clear idea of what to do in order to promote a healthy mind.
Just as physical health is essential for your well being, mental health is equally as important. Having a healthy mind allows you form positive relationships with those around you as well as develop and build up your self esteem and confidence. It is therefore necessary for your kids to be mentally healthy in order to grow into healthy, well rounded adults.
Here we look at effective ways to promote positive mental health in our kids.
1) Lead by example
One of the most important parenting tips you should keep in mind.
If a child sees you stressed all the time and not dealing with it correctly, then they are bound not know how to handle it themselves.
Actively find ways to minimize your stress by exercising, practicing good eating habits and getting enough rest. You will not only feel good but you will be enforcing the message on how important it is to relax and take care of your mind.
Seeing you take care of yourself like this and witnessing the benefits firsthand will encourage your kid to do the same and it will help them realize the importance of mental health on the human mind.
You should be your child's role model. Talk about your feelings, express your anger without the use of violence, apologize when wrong and find appropriate ways to actively solve any problems.
Children learn from what they observe so do your best to be a good example.
2) Promote openness
Let your child know that is is okay for them to come and talk to you if they are having a problem. Let them know that it is okay to share their emotions and that anything they may be feeling is part of normal life. They should be able to openly express sadness, anger or worry to you without feeling ashamed of doing so.
Likewise, you should be open with them as well so that they know that it goes both ways. Seeing an adult that they trust and love be open with them lets them know that emotions are nothing to be afraid of. They will realize just how important it is to share how they are feeling and they will be encouraged to express any of their emotions and concerns.
3) Encourage their creativity
Allowing your child to express themselves through creative outlets lets them find ways to deal with stress and ease their minds. By
By immersing themselves in an activity that they fully enjoy, they are better equipped at handling life's day to day stresses and provides them with something to escape into.
For instance, if your child is interested in painting, encourage them to take up the activity and support them as they do it. This not only helps build their self esteem and confidence but it will also teach them express themselves in different forms.
Celebrate your child's creativity but also accept their limits and don't push them too hard.
4) Encourage exercise
Physical exercise and mental health work hand in hand.
When your child exercises, their brain produces chemicals that boosts their mood. Not only that, but it will also help relieve any stress that may have been building up throughout the day.
Make exercise time a bonding experience by working out with them. As you do this together, you will not only be strengthening your bodies but you will be working on your minds together and strengthening your bond as parent and child.
5) Create a sense of playfulness
A lot of households nowadays have strict routines and leave little time for play. If you notice that your child is constantly stressed out or worried, try and lighten them up.
Take time to play with your child. Go for a nice lunch or dinner, take them to the movies or simply just ask them what they would like to do for fun.
Let them understand that it is possible to have an organized life and still have fun at the same time. They will therefore have a good balance in their lives.
6) Encourage helpfulness and social interaction
Foster helpfulness in your child by encouraging them to help others where they can. Allow them opportunities for growth by encouraging participation in their schools and communities.
Not only will this teach them to care about others and the importance of being part of a community but they will be able to create bonds and friendships with other people which will have a positive impact on their mental well being.
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7) Give them their space
Everyone benefits from some "me" time and it is important to give your child their space.
Allowing your child to have time to themselves and be with their own thoughts allows them to gain a better understanding of themselves making it easier for them to express and accept themselves.
They will be able learn how to think for themselves which is important in developing a good, strong mind.
8) Make sure they get enough sleep
This may seem pretty basic but it is extremely important to make sure your child gets enough sleep. Sleep is one of the most fundamental building blocks for good mental health. Most children and teenagers are actually sleep deprived and in order for them to be able to function at their best, they need to get enough rest.
If your child gets enough rest, then they will be better able to cope with stressful situations as well as promote proper brain growth and development.
Promoting positive mental health in your child enables them to grow into healthy adults who are capable of fostering good relationships with other people and most importantly, the relationship with themselves.
With a healthy mind, their day to day living is made more enjoyable and they are better able to deal with life's stresses. They grow up to be confident individuals who can take care of themselves and they are able to reach their full potential which is more than any parent wants for their child.