Tips for enhancing child mental health
Check out these foolproof measures for parents to ensure a supportive environment at home to help children cope with stress
There are various factors that can impact the mental well-being of children hence, it is important for parents to understand how to help the child to calm down and stay stress-free. The child’s mental health can go for a toss due to various reasons as children who witness conflict and aggression at home are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, behavioural issues and hopelessness.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Deepak Ugra, Pediatrician at Lilavati Hospital, explained, “The anxiety and stress to excel in academics can cause feelings of inadequacy. The pervasiveness of social media and technology has introduced a new set of challenges, contributing to increased rates of cyberbullying and self-esteem issues among children. The lack of outlets for physical activity and time spent in nature has been linked to increased levels of stress in children. Now that screen time has become the default form of entertainment, the opportunity for kids to engage in outdoor activities has diminished drastically.”
He suggested, “Parents should be attentive to these signs that indicate their child is struggling with mental health issues: Irritability, withdrawal from social activities, or excessive mood swings can indicate that the child needs help. These could be signs of underlying mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. A decline in academic performance or loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed may also indicate the child is struggling. Changes in eating and sleeping patterns, frequent headaches, or stomach aches will also indicate the child is having a problem dealing with stress.”
Dr Deepak Ugra recommended the following foolproof measures for parents to ensure a supportive environment at home to help children cope with stress -
- Open communication is key. Encouraging children to express their thoughts and emotions without fear of judgment fosters a sense of security and belonging.
- Another vital tip for parents is to model positive behaviour when it comes to dealing with stress and challenges. Healthy coping mechanisms and problem-solving skills can greatly impact the child’s ability to navigate difficulties. Building a routine that includes regular physical activity, nutritious meals, and sufficient sleep contributes to the overall wellness of the child. Deep breathing exercises or meditation can help kids deal with stressful situations.
- Parents should set regulations for screen time and encourage activities that promote physical well-being and social interaction. See to it that the child plays outdoors, and engages in family activities instead of excessive screen time. It's essential to guide children on how to engage with technology mindfully. Instead of simply limiting screen time, parents can teach children to use digital devices as tools for learning, creativity, and self-expression. By instilling critical thinking skills and promoting a balanced approach towards technology, parents can equip children with the ability to make informed choices about their screen usage while cultivating healthy mental habits.
- Open communication by parents is vital to help release the academic stress in children. So, parents should engage in listening to children, offering emotional support and helping them problem-solve through difficult situations.