Mental Health in Children: What Do I Do?
By Genevieve Cunningham
Mental health has taken a turn in the front seat as of late, and truly that’s a good thing. For so long, there was a terrible stigma attached to those with mental health issues, but that is finally starting to lift. Even with all of the attention, there is a long way to go in the world of mental fitness. This is especially true in the case of children. Kids are supposed to be happy and carefree! It’s difficult to talk about children who may be suffering from mental health problems. But, it’s also incredibly important. To get the dialogue open and your mind on keeping your own little ones mentally fit, check out these tips for creating healthy and happy children.
Make a Safe Space
Children need routine and safety. They like to feel secure in their surroundings. How is this accomplished? Make sure that your child’s home is a safe space to talk about whatever they need. If there is strife in the home, address it instead of letting it simmer. Allow your child to feel their emotions, and then guide them through the process of dealing with them. While not a guarantee, creating a safe and secure home environment is the first step to mentally healthy children.
Get Them Involved, But Not Overextended
In today’s world, there seem to be two kinds of kids: Those who do nothing and those who do everything. For a mentally fit child, try to find the middle ground. Allow them to explore new hobbies and interests, but don’t allow them to schedule every second of their time. Free play is an important part of being a kid, and it’s the job of the parents to make sure there is plenty of time for it. The bottom line … get your kids interested and involved in activities, but let them be little as well.
Lead By Example
Do you blow your top every time you’re mad? Do you throw things or scream and yell? How do you handle sadness, anger, or boredom? The best way to teach your child how to be mentally resilient is by example. Learn coping mechanisms for yourself, practice them regularly, and pass them on to your children when they’re ready. A little guidance and instruction can go a long way in the well-being of you and your family.
Don’t be afraid to talk about mental illness with your children. Discussing hard topics won’t make them any more susceptible to problems. It will just open the door to communication. Use these tips to help create mentally healthy and strong kids, and never be afraid to ask for help when you or your family needs it.