Mental health during childhood means reaching developmental and emotional milestones, learning healthy social skills and how to deal with problems. Children are more vulnerable than adults. Everything around them is a learning experience, and they start associating feelings with things that settle deeper as memories. However, there are ways in which you can foster your child’s mental health. Here are some of our suggestions do to so in the best possible way:
Listen to your children. They want to be heard, and to communicate, just like a grownup. Most children want you to believe them when they tell you what they dreamt of, why they don’t like a particular food, how their day at school was and so forth. They feel important when you listen to them, and that’s exactly how we all want to feel.
RESPOND CALMLY DURING ELEVATED EMOTIONS
If your child is angry at something or throwing a tantrum for no reason, the best way to deal with it is by being calm. While it’s natural to snap at them or be frustrated, try to take a breath. Ask the child to practice deep breaths and do it with them; it makes them feel you are practising what you are preaching. Then, ask them to explain what they’re feeling and help them find a solution. It may not be as easy as it sounds, but kids learn what they see. If you lose your calm at the same time as your child, then they will never know what being calm looks or feels like.
CREATE A HOME ROUTINE
By creating a home routine, you teach your kids discipline. They will have a habit of having a healthy home routine. It will help them incorporate small things in life forever, for example, not skipping breakfast and taking care of hygiene. It also helps them be responsible. If you assign them small chores like making sure dirty clothes go in the laundry basket or changing calendar dates, they will feel in control of minor things while developing good habits.
TALK ABOUT EMOTIONS AND FEELINGS
It’s crucial to talk to the child about emotions! The stigma that boys don’t cry or the girls don’t show anger needs to be smashed and tossed in the garbage. Emotions exist in every single person of every age. If we ignore what our child feels, it may foster something big like depression or anxiety. We should ask them time and again how they feel and teach them to identify emotions like feeling happy, sad, excited, anxious, lonely etc. They should be able to recognise what they are feeling, and they will only be able to do so if we keep asking them and teaching them these emotions. Not only does it help them, but they will know how to treat people when they are going through one of these emotional experiences.
Let the kids make small independent decisions like what they want to order, which colour shoes they would like to buy or letting them earn independently if they’re old enough. When children are encouraged independence, they learn through the choices they make. If they make a mistake, they will remember it for a lifetime because it was their choice. It makes them feel accountable to do better.
Everyone’s parenting style is different, and many may not agree with a lot of things mentioned here. But it is essential to treat a child as an individual. We must not compare them to their siblings or other kids around them. Every child is different and requires different ways to be dealt with.