Just like most parents, you undoubtedly go to great lengths to ensure that your children have regular checks, vaccinations, a healthy diet, and assistance with schooling. But how often do you consider how to look after the mental health of your child? And why is it critical to work on the emotional health improvement of the child?
Well, when it comes to stress, behavior, and academics, a child’s mental health is equally as vital as their physical health. About 1 in 5 kids are affected by mental health challenges every year. While parents and assisted medical interventions cannot stop all mental health problems, we can help them stay as healthy as possible and teach them to deal with those problems.
Emotional Well-Being - What is it?
It is important that we understand the definition of emotional wellbeing thoroughly so that it becomes easier to comprehend the concept. Research has shown that a child’s emotional well-being is associated with communication skills and relationships with others. Young children can easily get frustrated, feel vulnerable and helpless in difficult situations. In these tough times, they need help from their parents to cope with them. Therefore, parents should not hesitate to invest in the emotional well-being of their children.
According to the CDC statistical data, it was found that approximately 17.4% of children between the ages of 2 to 8 years suffered from some kind of mental, and developmental disorder. The children also faced behavioral issues. Moreover, with an increase in age, the diagnosis of disorders like ADHD, depression, and anxiety have also increased. It was concluded that behavioral issues have increased between the ages of 6 to 11 years. Nevertheless, the trend was not seen in children below the age range (younger children) and above the age range (older children).
Let’s look at a scenario where children are not supported at all in their emotional health journey. Undoubtedly, the children will not be able to deal with their stress. They will often feel discouraged to try new things. The quality of their friendships will decline and their problem-solving skills will suffer. We are all sure that no one wants to see the horrible outcome in reality.
Four Important Steps To Nurture Emotional Health In Kids
A research study pointed out four helpful steps to facilitate emotional coping in children.
- Firstly, the adults should accept and validate the emotions expressed by the child. It is extremely important for coping because a lack of acceptance can escalate the situation rather than de-escalating it. De-Escalation becomes critically important in situations where the child displays negative emotions of anger and fear.
- When parents label (step 2) their feelings for their young children, it increases their emotional awareness.
- The third step is to provide the required comfort and consolation to the child. It can be verbal and material. For example, in the case of anxiety, parents can say:
“It is okay to be anxious. You can hold my hand if you want to.”
The fourth step is to gently present a solution. It is necessary to nurture their personal coping strategies and foster autonomy for later years.
Consequently, the procedure of observation, identification, association, and assistance sends healthy coping messages to the child. They show that their feelings are significant, and their acknowledgment matters. It also tells them that feelings can be managed and they are not something uncontrollable. With enough support and guidance over time, the children begin to internalize the positive messages. So, in later years they practice them with no difficulty.
The Effects of Positive Parenting
According to the research published in the Australian Institute of Family Studies, it was found that a positive parenting style from the mother’s side significantly impacted the social-emotional well-being of children. It even showed improvement in children diagnosed with conduct disorder. Moreover, when mothers engaged in hostile parenting, large deviations and differences were seen in the emotional well-being of children of all ages. It can be further concluded that social-emotional well-being in children gets a boost when parents keep showing warmth and productive parenting styles consistently. The approach is especially beneficial for children in difficult times. All the insights from the research imply that positive and warm parenting requires parents to take care of their mental and emotional well-being first. It means that they need to feel emotionally healthy and secure first so that they can treat their children the same way. Hence, self-care for parents is critical.
2 Different Practices That Promote Emotional Health in Kids
Children can learn the above skills in the best way when they are having fun. We know that children have the most fun when they play games. The following games can help children grow their social-emotional well-being drastically.
1. Cyclones and Starfish
The purpose of the game is to help kids monitor the energy inside them. If they notice that they have surplus energy, they can practice relaxation skills. They also have the option to get help from an adult.
How can the game be played?
The kids should make a drawing of a thermometer in the middle of a piece of paper. Then they should draw a starfish at the bottom and a cyclone at the top of the piece of paper. After this, the child can easily monitor their energy levels. If they are feeling overwhelmed (like a tornado), they can find different ways to relax and become like starfish.
Keep in mind that the activity is geared towards increasing self-awareness. It is extremely crucial for self-regulation.
2. Time for a Turtle
The objective of the game is to enhance the observational skills of the kids. It encourages children to pick up social signals in their surroundings. It is excellent for teaching empathy to young kids.
How is it played?
For the activity to be effective, go to a public park and verbally express all the details that you see. The expression will help the child pay attention to all the details.
For example, “I see a lot of kids on the monkey bar.” “Oh, I see a few kids on the red slide, should we go there first?”. The observations made should be slow and steady like the speed of a turtle.
Note: Parents should take turns with their children and practice observational skills.
To Bring it All Together
The strategy clearly explains the importance of emotional well-being for children. It helps them become self-confident, resilient, creative, and empathic. Moreover, it can help them flourish academically and acquire new skills smoothly. Parents should keep in mind that they cannot ignore their well-being amidst all of it. Hence, online courses directed toward personal well-being can help them.