Anyone is susceptible to mental illnesses including young children. In fact, Medicine Net notes that approximately one-fourth of children and teens have a mental disorder in any given year. Common among these mental health disorders are anxiety and depression, along with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (which affect 8–10% of school-aged children).
As such, recognizing the signs of depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses are crucial, as they can affect all aspects of your child's life — their friendships, the way they interact at home, and even their schooling. Indeed, studies carried out by Maryville University on the psychology of students note how there are strong connections between mental health and learning, which underscores the importance of valuing a child’s mindset. If your child is underperforming at school, their mental wellbeing could be a key reason why. Recognizing these signs is just the beginning, as you will also have to strengthen your child's mental health so they are supported and can support themselves as they grow up. That being said, below are five ways to do just that:
1. Create a Positive Home Environment
Your child’s mental development depends largely on your home’s environment. Hence, it is imperative that you make your home a safe haven — one that is lively, loving, positive, and appreciative. Such an atmosphere will bring peace of mind to your child, as opposed to an atmosphere filled with distrust, negativity, and, worse, violence. So, in order to foster this positive home environment, you will have to cultivate a healthy relationship not only with your child, but also with every other member of the family.
2. Foster Trust
Central to strengthening your child’s mental health is earning their trust, but even then, building trust is a process that might take time. You can foster it by meeting the physical and emotional needs of your child especially when they’re feeling sad, scared, or frustrated. One thing to note is that it is important to not get frustrated yourself as this could make matters worse. This also means keeping your word, making time for your child, and being consistent in your care.
3. Develop Your Child’s Self-Esteem
Psychotherapist Amy Morin explains in ‘How to Improve Children's Mental Health’ that self-esteem can boost mental health. The best way to develop your child’s self-confidence, according to Dr. Morin, is to boost their self-esteem by dispensing genuine and realistic praise. This means steering clear from hyperbole or exaggerated compliments (e.g., You’re the smartest kid in the world). Then, teach your child ways for them to develop their self-esteem by themselves, like giving them opportunities to do things on their own, encouraging healthy self-talk, and letting them develop new skills.
4. Let Them Play
Play is a vital way children have fun, and is also a means to improve their creativity, as we discussed in our ‘6 Ways to Foster a Sense of Creativity in Your Kids’ post. But aside from developing curiosity and imagination, play can also strengthen kids’ mental health. The Atlantic points to a 2018 report on the importance of play, and how it is vital to a child’s development. Particularly, it helps improve cognition, memory, social skills, and even mental health. Needless to say encourage your child to play often and make sure you play with them.
5. Introduce Your Child to Thinking Spiritually
Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that kids with spiritual beliefs, are more likely to have better mental health into their adulthood. In particular, the study discovered that adults who, in their childhood, had some form of spiritual activity reported greater life satisfaction. Tellingly, adults who grew up in a spiritual household experienced fewer symptoms of depression. So, if you haven’t been doing so yet, consider introducing your child to religion— but remember to not force them into it, and let them join on their own terms. Once you find a sense of spirituality together, it could pay off in the long term.
It is a parent’s duty to help strengthen their child’s mental health. If your child struggles with any mental issues, we hope the above article has helped.
Specially written for GoodDads.com
By: Raena Jaelyn
Children in Generation Z are growing up in a world where they’re bombarded with more content than they know what to do with on a daily basis...
I have a challenge for you. One day, out of nowhere, ask your 8, 9 or 10-year-old to make the family breakfast or dinner, using anything in the kitchen. Now, ask them to do it without using the help of a device or Alexa. We did this when our two oldest were about that age. They treated it as a competition to see who could make the better dish. For the most part, they did a great job cooking without recipes. They learn a lot just by watching what we do in the kitchen daily.
Once our kids became teens, we sat down and made grocery lists with “needs” and “wants”, then gave them a budget to go shopping with. This taught them to find the best deals on the things we needed, so they might have enough money left over for items they wanted. This helped them understand budgeting and gave them a good sense for what groceries cost.
Go to the gas station, show your kids how to pump gas and wash the windows. Have them do their own ordering at restaurants and ask for refills or more ketchup. They need to learn how to interact with people and be polite in doing so. My poor daughter gets anxious when having to talk to strangers, but it’s something she will have to do for the rest of her life. My youngest, now 9, loves to take the ticket and have everyone guess the total of the bill. He will then ask for the money so he can go pay at the register, and try to figure out how much of a tip he should leave.
We try to instill the importance of household chores and keeping things neat and tidy. They all know how to use a washer/dryer, dishwasher, how to clean their bathrooms, toilets, showers and bathtubs. I have gone inside many homes and have felt as though some adults were not taught how to clean as kids!
I hope that I have helped teach my children communication skills beyond texting and social media. Hopefully they have gained confidence and will be better equipped to deal with whatever life throws at them once they are out on their own.
Herb Cody is a husband and father of three. He is a part-time Uber driver and full-time caregiver of his spouse, who suffered a traumatic brain injury after an auto accident November 2015. Herb loves football and is a St Louis Cardinals fanatic. He and his family live in Nixa MO. Herb can be reached for questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can check out Herb’s own blog at, www.thecodylife.weebly.com
"Love the idea of Kamp Kwarun-Team, but feel a little uncertain about your ability to do it?"
"The K.K staff is here to help!"
On Tuesday evening, June 16, between 5:30-7:30 p.m., our entire camp staff will be at the central pavilion in Nathaniel Greene Park to help you and your kids have a great time completing various activities together to earn badges.
We will be focusing on the Team Building and Week 1 badges on June 16, but we can also help or advise with other weeks if you’ve signed up for those. Just let us know your needs.
We will be giving prizes on June 16 for participation and completion of badges.
If you haven’t signed up for Kamp, you can do it now at https://www.gooddads.com/kamp-kwarun.html. We’ll have your sticker books ready for you when you come. If you already have one, please bring it with you.
In order to observe social distancing guidelines you need to sign up for a time to come to the park with your family. We suggest you take a picnic supper your kids help prepare (See Week 1 Foods badge) and eat it in the park. Then, you’ll have that badge completed.
We have half hour time slots available as follows:
Please email email@example.com to reserve your desired time slot.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT KAMP KWARUN-TEAM
Is this just for dads and kids or can moms do it too?
Although Good Dads has a focus on promoting father engagement with children, we also know the importance of mothers. In fact, both moms and dads make up the Good Dads staff. We have discovered that when moms are involved, dads will often stand back and “let them do it.”
Our goal here is two-fold: 1) Enable and equip dads and kids to have a fun experience together; and 2) Allow mom to participate and co-lead, but not have the primary responsibility for Kamp Kwarun-Team activities. (We know moms already do a lot and have a lot on their plates in this unusual season.)
Can grandparents do Kamp Kwarun-Team with their grandchildren?
Grandparents may absolutely do Kamp Kwarun-Team with their grandchildren. Uncles, aunts, big brother or sisters – anyone parents feel comfortable having their child spend time with – may all form a team and register for Kamp Kwarun-Team. The only requirement is that there be at least one adult (i.e. someone 18-years-old or older) and one child between the ages of 5 and 14.
What if my little brother or sister wants to be a camper, but they’re younger than five years?
We understand. If your big brother or sister is doing something, you want to do it too. If you have a very young “camper,” just let us know and we’ll send an extra sticker book your way. Badges will be earned according to what the family chooses.
Register now for Kamp Kwarun-Team – a family camp experience you can do in your own backyard or neighborhood that allows you to engage in friendly competition with families from across the country.
Here’s how it works:
When it’s all said and done, what your children want more than anything is your time and attention. Give them that in fun and meaningful ways. We make it easy to move your family away from screens this summer and give them memories they will to talk about for years to come.
Register Here: https://good-dads.mykajabi.com/
Learn More: https://www.gooddads.com/kamp-kwarun.html