While much attention is given to a child’s physical health, it is important to focus on their mental well-being too in order to maintain optimum health.
What Is Mental Well-Being?
Mental well-being is made up of different factors like social, psychological and emotional wellness, and a disruption of this delicate framework can lead to various issues of mental imbalance. These disruptions can be caused by external factors like trauma, loss of a loved one or internal factors like hereditary conditions and a family history of mental illness.
A nurturing family environment is key to developing and maintaining a child’s mental well-being because a strong foundation provides children with brighter prospects as adults. This is why it is essential to help a child develop emotionally and socially from a very tender age.
Monitoring A Child’s Mental Well-Being
Various studies have shown that when a child is provided with consistent support and his or her behavioral and emotional needs are regularly tended to, he or she goes on to perform better at school and in life. Some studies have also shown that mental health problems are quite common in children under six years of age and that almost 10% of all young kids have varying amounts of behavioral and other issues.
Since mental health is related to how we think, feel and react to situations, it is essential to monitor any changes in these aspects. Even though it may not be as prominent as in adults, children might show certain signs of being mentally disturbed and the onus is on the parents to be aware of any changes.
Mental issues, just like other health problems, are best dealt with immediately and the first logical step would be to sit down and talk to the child. In many cases, the child’s issue could be simple and solvable with a little one-on-one time but if that doesn’t help, it is advisable to talk to the child’s pediatrician and a mental health professional if required.
Maintaining Your Child’s Mental Well-Being
Children need the presence of at least one adult to feel loved and secure, so the role of a parent or caregiver mainly involves providing a nurturing and safe environment. Here are a few tips for helping your child’s mental well-being:
Spend quality time:
Assuring a child of your presence and constant availability is very beneficial because it helps the child realize that someone is readily available to listen to their issues and provide solutions.
Set a routine:
Helping your child follow a routine for sleeping, eating, playing, etc., helps him or her realize that someone responsible is taking care of all their needs. A routine also helps maintain stability and provides a feeling of security to young children.
Providing positive feedback and helping children overcome difficulties will encourage them to do even better and offer them a feeling of being successful. This can improve the child’s self-esteem and provide a strong foundation for a healthy adolescence and adulthood.
Allow them to be vulnerable:
Just as it is important to encourage strengths, it is also important to make them understand that failures are a part of life and what is important is how one deals with failures by turning them into positive lessons for the future.
Get extra help:
If your child continues to show signs of distress, please seek professional help before it gets out of hand.
Whether you are a parent or a professional who deals with young children, remember that the nurturing environment you provide is key to a child’s mental well-being. When combined with proper nutrition, regular exercise and the support of loving family and friends, children will be set up for a lifetime of happiness and health.
What Is Mental Health? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health
Six ways to support positive mental health in children. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/families/enewsletter/six-ways-support-positive-mental-health-children
Keep Children on the Path to Excellent Mental Health. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.kidcentraltn.com/article/keep-children-on-the-path-to-excellent-mental-health-1