By Victoria Smith
If you talk to most adults who’ve gone through therapy, they’ll tell you that a lot of therapy sessions are focused on what happened during their childhood years. The childhood years are the formulaic foundation for the rest of a person’s life. While you can’t control their actions and decisions, you can provide a good foundation in their childhood years. Consider some of the best ways to foster positive mental health in your young children.
1. Prioritize Adequate Rest, Nutrition, and Natural Light
The H.A.L.T. method is an acronym that helps people monitor their mental and physical health. If you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (H.A.L.T.), you’re more likely to make poor decisions. Especially when children are young, they’re learning how to manage their emotions. This is one of the reasons why the timeframe that’s known as the “Terrible Twos” can be so tough. However, it’s important to teach your children to communicate their needs. Sometimes, a child is having a tantrum because they’re lonely and feel like they haven’t gotten enough quality time with you. If you’re spending hours at the computer, schedule more breaks to read a book with your child, take a walk, or do a different activity that they love.
2. Create a Safe Space for Open, Honest Communication
From a young age, children quickly learn the importance of protecting the feelings of others. They learn how to hide their emotions in order to avoid hurting someone else. While they may not have mastered filtered responses the way adults do, don’t be surprised by how much children can keep to themselves in order to protect the feelings of others. While it’s good to be thoughtful, you do want your children to be honest and open about their feelings. Foster a good sense of communication with each other. If you want your children to be open and honest with you, you also have to make sure you’re non-judgemental. If your children feel as though they’ll be punished if they’re open and honest, they’re less likely to do it.
3. Learn More About Various Disorders
Educate yourself on the various ways different mental health disorders can develop. It’s also important to pay attention to the signs of a developing illness. It’s possible for children to be depressed or anxious. It’s important to recognize it as it develops because it’s often viewed as a child being disagreeable or disobedient. Many mental health professionals like Dr. Ramani Durvasula continue to relentlessly fight against the raging epidemic of narcissism. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is severely underdiagnosed because many people don’t realize the severity of it. However, a narcissistic personality disorder is actually developed in childhood years. By providing a healthy emotional foundation, you may be able help your child avoid the snares of a disorder or a mental breakdown in the future.
4. Prioritize Your Own Mental Health Routine
Your children can learn so much from you. What they see you do, they’ll naturally emulate. If they see you taking time to prioritize self-care, therapy sessions, and a thoughtful way of living, know that it will impact their lives as well. As their parent, you are your children’s greatest teacher. Lead by example. By prioritizing your own mental health, you’ll teach your children to do the same. Whether they recognize it as children or as adults, your habits will influence their future habits.
While these tips can be incredibly effective in creating a beautiful experience for young children, be mindful that there will be times when you make mistakes. If you make a mistake, you can learn from it and try to do better. By utilizing these tips and strategies to provide and foster a healthy space for mental wellness, you’re doing your part to make sure your children can soar as individuals in the world.