Good mental health in children is essential as it affects how they think and feels about themselves and their surroundings.
Mental development is an essential part of growing up. It lays the foundation for building positive social, emotional, thinking, and communication skills which significantly affects their wellbeing later in life.
Importance of Good Mental Health
The burden we pass on to children in today’s modern times is ever-mounting. Kids are subjected to constant pressure to excel in every field – from studies to their extra-curricular activities and many more. Parents, guardians, and carers play a crucial role in ensuring that children don’t suffer from poor mental health.
Mental illness can spread like wildfire, and many are fighting their own battles. External support from parents and loved ones becomes crucial in overcoming the most vulnerable phases.
It is worth noting that mental disorders do not fall into specific age groups. Everyone – from children, adolescents, and seniors can find themselves falling into the trap of these illnesses. But when it comes to small kids, the parents should be the first level of support.
Unfortunately, many parents lack understanding of mental illness in children, and not everyone takes such issues seriously.
A child’s mental wellbeing is just as important as their physical health. Good mental status contributes to better performance at school and home and strengthens relationships. In addition, it helps prevent the onset of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.
A strong foundation of good mental health in early childhood is positively linked with academic success, maintaining connections, healthy attitudes and behaviours, and positive adaptation.
4 Ways to Take Care of Child’s Mental Health
Key estimates from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows 314,000 children experienced a mental disorder in 2013-14. It is more common in girls than boys, ages four to eleven. ADHD is the highest culprit amongst existing mental conditions.
While not all mental disorders are preventable, there are steps available that will significantly help a child be as mentally healthy as possible. Here are a few of them.
Listen and Show Empathy
Experiencing different sorts of emotions is part of growing up. All children will experience sadness, fear, disappointment, anger, etc. Big emotions might be new to them, so parents and caregivers must be there to provide support.
Have a one-on-one talk and encourage the child to recognize and label their emotions. Let them know that it is natural to have all sorts of feelings.
Teaching a child the language to describe their feelings will make them feel normal and healthy.
Keep awareness of the child’s overall actions and behaviour.
Children tend to show their feelings through behaviours more than words. A child acting out and getting into trouble often may indicate an ongoing problem. Emotional support from parents is vital during this phase.
Avoid using negative comments such as “acting like a baby” or “stop being so angry”. Such remarks can only make them feel like their feelings are invalid, contributing to mental health stigma. Guide children to properly deal with their emotions safely and responsibly.
Foster Healthy Relationships
The relationship between parents and children is vital, but other connections also matter. These include relations with other relatives, including grandparents, cousins, friends and people in the neighbourhood.
Teach Stress Management
Stress is a part of life, and learning how to deal with high-pressure situations will help set up a child for success. Give the kids the skill they need to handle stressful conditions at home, school, or during playtime. Doing so will help build their mental strength.
Raising happy and mentally healthy children is challenging. Often, kids find it difficult to express and define their emotions. It is part of growth and development. However, a lack of positive adult guidance and knowledge can worsen things.
Break the Cycle by Taking a Mental Health First Aid Course
Like CPR and other lifesaving skills, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a toolbox that helps stabilize a situation before seeking professional help.
Taking a Mental Health First Aid course will improve someone’s understanding of mental illness and substance use disorders. It will teach you how to identify and help someone experiencing a mental health crisis.
First Aid Pro offers Mental Health First Aid courses in many training venues in Adelaide and Australia. We offer corporate and group training, easily accessible for parents, teachers, and caregivers.
In this battle of mental illness, never leave a child alone. Start making these small lifestyle changes and witness how your child blossoms into a happy, healthy human being,
Book a Mental Health First Aid course today and help a child in crisis.