Adults play an important role in the development of children’s mental health by helping them understand their emotions, develop resiliency and foster healthy relationships.
Here are some suggestions for nurturing a child’s mental health.
1. Strong relationships
A strong relationship consists of communication, respect, trust, problem solving and affection. Healthy relationships share common goals and responsibilities as well as acceptance and commitment. Further, strong relationships will promote resilience which is the ability to tolerate difficult situations in positive ways.
2. Develop self-esteem
Nurturing a positive self-esteem in children includes creating a sense of safety and security, promoting confidence by developing a good attitude about their abilities and encouraging problem-solving. A child’s self-esteem will thrive with love, praise, attention and healthy direction.
3. Emotional expression
Children often learn from modeling; with exposure to a variety of feelings, language and coping mechanisms, children in turn will become more self-aware. Children also require encouragement to talk about how they feel with validation of their emotions.
4. Healthy home environment
Physical activity is important to our overall mental wellness and therefore a healthy home environment should include activity, play and family interaction. In addition, it is also important to be aware of the amount of screen time your child is consuming in this technologically advanced era. While emotional honesty and expression is important to model to your child, parents should be cautious about discussing serious family issues in the presence of children; such as finances, marital problems or critical illness.
5. Distress tolerance
Finally, children require direction on learning to relax and self-soothe; talking, quiet activity, walking and alone time are all healthy reactions to stressful situations.
By: Vanessa Wilkins, Registered Psychotherapist