Children have different emotional and psychological needs than adults. In order for them to grow up healthy and know how to manage their emotions in the face of negative situations, children need a solid family and educational base.
How to take care of the mental health of today’s children? Today’s childhood is certainly very different from the childhood of yesteryear. Social networks, increased technology, access to education, violence, different family dynamics, climate change… All these elements have an impact on the psyche of little ones, even if it is not visible.
For parents, the amount of things to be concerned about can seem overwhelming. How to educate, care for and protect a child without suffocating him? After all, both overprotection and excessive encouragement to succeed in multiple areas are harmful for children who, at a young age, do not know how to manage so many expectations .
How to take care of children’s mental health?
Psychologists claim that although there are many ways to take care of the mental health of little ones, each child is unique and has its own needs and desires. Thus, parents need to absorb child care tips with an open mind and replicate them without rigidity.
You have to understand that what is best for one child may not have the same effect on another. Attention to personality and individuality is necessary to find the best care formula for each child.
With that in mind, we’ve separated eight ways to take care of the mental health of little ones for parents who seek guidance in this area. To deepen their knowledge of child mental health, families can also seek psychotherapy .
Psychological follow-up is not only aimed at treating psychological conditions or solving serious problems. Day-to-day issues, such as insecurity about motherhood and fatherhood, are also welcome in the psychologist’s office.
1. Take care of your own mental health
How can you take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself?
Everything starts with us, even issues that involve the people in our lives. The way we treat others, how we interpret their actions and feelings, and how we live with them is, above all, linked to the state of our own mental health .
If you are not well with yourself, you tend to treat others with indifference, impatience and even rudeness. It’s not necessarily because you want to hurt others, but because you have internal conflicts.
So, take care of yourself first and make sure every day that you are well, satisfied and happy with your life.
Children learn a lot from the way we treat people, react to problems and express happiness. Only by observing the behavior of parents and adults around them, the child is able to create personal values and rules for life. What kind of messages would you like to pass on to your children?
2. Be consistent and honest
Be consistent with your actions and words. If you promised the child something, fulfill it. If you can’t comply, explain to her why and arrange to reward her at another time.
Because children are observant, they notice when parents contradict each other and are confused if they don’t get an explanation for that behavior. They may think that acting that way is right and replicate dysfunctional behaviors on a daily basis.
They may also get angry or hurt by their parents’ inconsistencies and lack of transparency, especially when a friend comments on their parents’ nice behavior.
So, don’t underestimate your children’s intelligence. Be consistent in your teachings and the way you treat them. If you make a mistake or act wrongly, don’t feel ashamed. Be honest about your imperfection . Children learn more from real adults who are not afraid to admit when they are wrong.
3. Teach the child how to manage stress
Stress is a constant in all of our lives, so why not teach children how to manage it from a young age? They will suffer less from bad and tiring experiences.
In childhood, these situations usually mark for life. In some cases, they interfere with our happiness and ability to form connections. So, to prevent your children from forming childhood traumas and becoming insecure, help them manage the stress they will inevitably encounter.
You can do this by teaching them to resolve conflicts with friends and classmates, respond well to a low grade and other frustrations, take deep breaths to calm themselves down, and de-stress with play, reading, sports, and drawing.
4. Set healthy habits for the whole family
Again, we stress the importance of becoming a mirror for children. Many people adopt unhealthy habits from their parents and suffer with them for a long time until they discover that they can do things differently.
For children to cultivate useful habits for the rest of their lives, talk to your spouse and other family members who live with you to establish good habits as a group. Of course, each person works in a way, so it may be necessary to change habits so that others are willing to help.
Anyway, the goal is not to put all family members in a box, but to create healthy and cool habits that help the whole family stay together and happy. Some examples are practicing physical exercises, resolving conflicts directly and through dialogue, doing a leisure activity together on weekends and taking care of one’s appearance. Cutting down on screen time and monitoring their cell phone usage is an important part of careful parenting.
5. Make appointments with other children
Children need to play!
Some kids don’t like busy environments and prefer to play with a group of friends or spend more time alone, and that’s ok! Remember that you need to take your children’s personality into account for your guidelines to work.
For kids who like to socialize, make appointments with friends. Arrange with the other children’s parents to rotate the meeting house. That way, all adults have a moment off.
As for the quieter children, invite only friends from their circle of friends and, if they show interest, expand the invitations to other colleagues. Some parents try to introduce different friendships to their children, but they don’t think that maybe they don’t know how to act around strangers.
6. Give compliments
Compliments are very important for the self- esteem and self-confidence of little ones! They need to hear words of admiration and recognition from their parents.
Children who only hear sermons and words of rebuke grow up insecure. They believe that everything they do can cause a negative reaction, so they tend to cancel themselves out. On the other hand, children who do not listen to anything, only the awkward silence in the face of achievements, do not feel validated or important.
Give praise when the child gets it right, finishes a school activity, is proud of a small victory, shows you a crazy invention or an object of interest, and has good behavior.
However, don’t overdo it! Praise when needed and encourage the child when he needs to hear words of support, but don’t overpraise. Otherwise, they will lose their value and the child may become spoiled.
7. Teach the child to resolve conflicts
Resolving conflict is a skill few adults have. Many were not taught to talk , find a solution and forgive enmity. This lack of tact often leads to poor interpersonal relationships, whether at home or at work.
Teach your children not to run away from problems and conflicts by showing them how to resolve them maturely. Tell them that these occurrences, while unpleasant, are not the end of the world and there is nothing to worry about.
8. Talk about feelings
Expressing emotions and feelings is very difficult for some people. Those who were not given an opening to this in childhood and adolescence find it difficult to be honest with themselves and others in adult life. That is, they become emotionally immature adults.
The child who learns to talk openly about his feelings with people he trusts, without fear of being scolded, is more confident. She doesn’t keep anything inside that can develop into depression or anxiety .
Likewise, she grows up with a stronger connection with her feelings, making it easier for her to understand them in different situations. This child is more likely to seek self- knowledge in the future. Also, talking about feelings teaches children to interpret and respect how others feel.