Steps Parents Can Take to Help Improve Children's Mental Health

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Published Nov 16, 2016

Mental health in kids is a tricky subject. Luckily there are some ways parents can help.

When you become a parent, you commit to devoting most of your time and attention to the health and welfare of a small person who depends on your decisions completely. Healthy eating, stimulating play, social interaction, and regular doctor visits can the essential tasks, but ensuring healthy mental health requires more specific activities that develop a strong sense of belonging and a healthy self-image. 

Model the Behavior You Want in Your Child

If you want your child to learn patience, diligence, kindness, and tolerance, model these behaviors in yourself. Children will see how to behave and will integrate these behaviors into their own self-concept. 

Provide A Stable Schedule for Daily Life

Regular eating, sleep times, and play times help to give children a sense of security and order that allows them to put the rest of life in proper perspective. Individuals studying to get a master’s degree in social work understand the critical importance of stability and regularity in the development of children, which allows them a suitable base to expand their learning and their experiences. 

Be Generous with Praise

Catch children in the act of doing something you approve of and mention it to them. No action is too small to praise, whether it is good interaction with siblings, putting away toys, or helping a playmate. 

Limit TV and Computer Screen Time

Parents should actively limit the amount of time children spend watching TV or operating the computer. Although these activities can be enriching and educational, they can also be a means of withdrawing from normal behaviors that help them develop both intellectually and socially. 

Set Reasonable Limits on Behavior and Have Caretakers Enforce These Limits

Children benefit from having clear, reasonable limits on behavior so they can operate safely in their lives and their environments and can be free of confusion. Caretakers, such as babysitters or grandparents should be apprised of these limits so they can maintain the same order. 

Stay Alert to Warning Signs of Mental Health Problems and Get Help

Parents can also help their children by staying alert to any signs that a child is having emotional difficulties or is unable to get beyond a loss. These children can benefit from assessment and counseling from a qualified psychologist. Warning signs include:

· A child that is very angry or very worried on a regular basis

· A child that can’t enjoy pleasurable activities

· A child that isolates themselves

· A child that has eating problems or sleeping problems

· A child that hurts others or destroys property without remorse

· A child that abuses alcohol, drugs or tobacco

· A child that cuts or harms himself

· A child that hear voices

· A child that cannot control their thoughts or emotions

· A child that has suicidal thoughts

Good mental health for children is a matter of supporting positive behaviors and finding effective ways to correct negative behavior. The time and care that parents spend with their children on a consistent basis can be instrumental in helping kids develop a healthy outlook on life.

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