We all assume that children have good mental health. They are the ones who do not have worries in the world like their older counterparts. You might be surprised to know that this is not completely true. There are several mental health problems in childhood. According to World Health Organization, 10 to 20 per cent of children suffer from mental health issues and if it is not addressed from the early age, it might cause a serious problem. These issues influence their development by hampering educational accomplishments. Hence, as parents, it is important for you to understand the mental health of your child. You will be able to help your child know of and deal with their mental issues only if you understand them well.
Why kid’s mental health should be a priority?
When an adult is stressed, the body requires some changes emotionally, physically or maybe mentally. Being grown-ups, you manage to adjust as per your convenience and possibility. But mental stress and illness affect kids completely differently. Sometimes it becomes extremely difficult for a grown up to understand the child’s issues.
There are a few ways in which you can identify mental health problems in childhood. Pay attention to the facts whether they are:
- Mood changes
- Sudden weight loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sudden behaviour changes
How to help with mental health problems in childhood
Children learn from what they see. As a parent, you should be the one who should teach them the importance of good mental health. Make them participate in necessary activities like exercising or extracurricular. Having a regular and sufficient sleep pattern and good association with friends and family are also stepping stones to a good mental health.
Try out these practices to make your child mentally fit:
Encourage outdoor activities
Today’s children are more into video games and television and this often leads to their improper mental health. Encourage them to go outside, have friends and play with them rather than living in a virtual world of games. Physical activities as an exercise, keep their bodies fit and eventually help them with their mental health.
Let your child be bored
Do not give a tablet, a smartphone or television games to your children all the time as this impedes their creativity. Only a bored child will learn to be creative, this will let them have their thoughts and feelings flow. This will enable them to understand their problems and stress in future and how to deal with it without hitting the roof or being depressed.
Give them space
Like adults, children also require their own space. This space helps them develop a personality of their own where they can think for themselves. Thinking and having their own space is something that needs to be taught. Let their thoughts wander; it will lead them to know themselves better. Give them space where children can think about themselves, initially as a parent you can guide them.
Share their problem
For better mental health, it is important that children know how to share their problems. This aspect needs to be taught to them by you. You have to encourage discussion in the house. If they learn to discuss their issues means that they have made the halfway mark to solving them. As per the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Children and Adolescents, boys were 5% more to bottle up their problems and emotions. So be observant and see if your child is acting differently, start asking small questions to understand their issues. Or at times share your problems, which will open the avenue of your child sharing their problems with you.
Time to relax
Some children may have the problem of being hyperactive or switching off from their surroundings from time to time. Get them into a hobby or something that would divert them. For some children, meditation can be helpful but understand what your child likes to do which is soothing and relaxing for them.
Two different timetables
With the busy schedule, all families have strict and almost regimented routines. Try to get a more relaxed and a bit laid-back routine at least for the weekends and holidays. Spending leisure time would make your child comfortable around you. Children should learn they do not have to run every day. They will learn to relax during the holidays.
In order to promote your child’s mental well-being, it is important for you to allow your child to get engaged in fun activities. Also, connecting to others will improve their mental health problems in childhood as it will make them feel they are valued.
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