What Children Need To Build Better Mental Health


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It’s quite easy for us parents to determine the physical needs of our children – good food, appropriate sleeping hours, getting them warm clothes for the cold. But for their emotional and mental health needs, it may not be that easy to provide. According to www.kidshealth.org, having good emotional and mental health allows children to be able to focus on what is right, develop their social skills, and learn new ways to cope with life’s challenges. Also, encouragement from parents and other adult loved ones, plus the support of great friends, are all vital in helping them promote self-esteem and a healthy outlook in life.

The basic requirements for a child’s physical wellness include:

  • Healthy food
  • Physical activity
  • Immunizations
  • Sufficient sleep and shelter
  • A clean and safe living environment

The basic requirements for a child’s mental wellness include:

  • High self-esteem
  • Supportive educators and caretakers
  • Unconditional love from parents and other family members
  • Correct discipline and guidance
  • Safe and calming surroundings

Love Unconditional

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Accepting and keeping them safe is all part of loving your children unconditionally. It must be the center of family life. The family should help them realize that they will only be loved if they have accomplishments because that should not be the case. For confidence to develop in the home, there must be acceptance of right and wrong, the constant patience to teach what is right, and affectionate love that is unconditional.

Nurturing Self-Esteem

Catherine Cleveland M.S., LMHC-P often says that “Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.” With that, one of the most effective and easiest ways that loved ones can help develop self-esteem in children is to praise them. These are forms of encouragement that motivate children to do better or to learn and discover new things. With the parents’ guidance, children can also be taught to create realistic goals that match their abilities and aspirations. They can opt for activities that test how well they and consequently increase their self-confidence. Honesty is the last but not the least element that must be instilled in your children. The first step is to practice honesty yourself. Do not hide from your children their failures and weaknesses. Instead, let them know gently the things that they can improve on. It is vital for them to realize that truly nobody is perfect.

Playing And Having Playmates

Children naturally play for fun. Play is an important part of their development, just like food and shelter. Playtime encourages kids to be creative, and they can promote problem-solving skills. Apart from playing alone, they also need playmates so they can develop teamwork and competitive skills, things that they will need when they are older. Allow them to play with their schoolmates, their cousins, and their neighbors so that they will learn how to adjust to different types of kids. Let them run, jump and yell and even play hard and dirty sometimes. All these will help them become mentally and physically healthy. An example of fun physical activities is letting them bounce in a sky-bound trampoline. Do you know what they’ll love more? Their parents playing with them! And then after every game, ask them if they had fun, or if they won. Let them tell their story watch how happy they are telling it to you.

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On Discipline And Guidance

Setting family rules is a must. You can talk about it over dinner. You can start by setting curfews for the older siblings, and then round up the ‘meeting’ with the children’s rules for television time, sleep time, and other important things you need for them to learn how to follow instructions. Linda Esposito, LCSW explains that “Once you redefine the meaning of discipline as a trait of being well-behaved and a tool to develop self-control, the concept becomes more neutral and less personal.”

In disciplining your children, be stern but gentle and realistic with what you want to achieve. Their development largely depends on how much love and encouragement you show them. More importantly, be a good role model for them. You can’t impose self-discipline on a child if you do not practice it yourself.

Be Open About Your Emotions

“Getting angry, becoming emotional, crying, laying guilt trips, or even nervously laughing are all inappropriate emotions during discipline.” Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC  said. When we lose our temper, because we will inevitably, make sure that you talk to your child about what happened and why you got angry. If you think you went overboard, then say sorry. He will learn to say sorry too, which is harder than we think. Remember that as parents, our goal is not to control our children but for them to learn how to control themselves.

Safety And Security

It is not impossible for children to be scared of something or someone. All of us have our fears, perhaps from past experiences or from the present. If you notice that your child is anxious, worried, or afraid of something and it has been affecting his behavior, you must know what’s scaring him. Talk to him gently and reassuringly. Do not criticize him and don’t tell him that it’s nothing, because fears are often real to children. Assure him that you’re there to protect him, and if it’s something that is a product of his thoughts, then help him get over it by showing him the power of positivity. Let him think about his strengths and how a bad thought cannot win over him. Let him feel that he is strong.

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Seeking Help

If you think something is bothering your child and you can’t seem to penetrate him, don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional. He will open your mind and teach you what to look for as warning signs that your child might be suffering from a mental health condition. Having therapy online is also another great alternative for you and your child. Reach out to one of the qualified and experienced counselors from BetterHelp to get a clearer understanding of your worries, anxieties, and other concerns that you may want to discuss with. Get a view of how working the team is like by reading this or watch videos of client success stories through this link. Caring for your child’s mental health is a must.