Mental Health for Kids: Where Do We Begin?
By Genevieve Cunningham
Our world is in a mental health crisis like never before. Between the stress of sickness, the economy, and the general state of the world, more people than ever are suffering from poor mental health. Unfortunately, the problem isn't specific to adults either. Mental health in kids is on the decline, and parents are desperately looking for help. While speaking to a professional is always a good idea, there are things we can do as parents to help our children through dips in their mental wellness. If you would like a starting point for better mental health in your kids, take a look at these tips.
Let Kids Be Kids
The world is already a stressful place, but it becomes even more stressful if we don't allow kids to be kids. Kids shouldn't be scheduled every hour of the day. They need rest and free play. They need friends and fun activities. They need to be kids! If we allow kids to be kids and don't expect them to achieve or be productive at an adult level, we'll help them feel better about life and improve their mental health on a daily basis.
Lower the Stress
Kids are stressed too. You may wonder: What do kids have to be stressed about? But they feel stress from school, activities, and even from us! And excessive stress is bad for the body and mind, no matter your age. Help your children feel less stress by sticking to a schedule, limiting their extra activities, allowing time for play, helping them get adequate sleep, and reducing the need for perfection or adult-level productivity. As the stress melts from your children, you'll likely see an almost immediate and significant improvement in mental health and their overall mood about life.
Address Issues Now
If your child is suffering, it's so important to address any issues right now. Don't ignore. Don't sweep problems under the rug. Let them talk to you without judgment. Let them see a professional if that's what they need. In addressing issues now, you'll be teaching your children how to care for their own mental health for the rest of your life. Kids are people -- their problems matter and need attention so that they can live their best life moving forward.
Mental health isn't something that is specific to adults. It's a problem that can affect anyone of any age. And it's not something to be ashamed about! Use these tips to help your children manage their mental well-being so that they can be happy and healthy for years to come.
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