Every parent should care about their children’s mental health. And in times like these, many children may feel stress in and out of the home. Regardless of the situations, they are facing at the moment, there are methods parents can take to ensure their children’s mental health is taken seriously. Here are some tips that parents can follow to support their child’s mental health.
Make Routines At Home
Routines are essential for children to follow, as it gives them a sense of structure and security. Many changes have been made within the last year that may have damaged this sense of consistency, such as remote learning, moving around workspaces, and other adaptations we have had to make to combat COVID-19. Try to stay consistent with your routines at home, and if they have questions about why they need to make these adjustments, provide reassurance to them. When children know what they should expect in a situation, they will feel in control.
Don’t Burn Yourself Out
As a parent, you want to care for your children. However, this can often result in neglecting self-care. You aren’t able to pour from an empty cup, so you need to make sure your mental health is in check. Practicing guilt-free self-care is crucial to prevent yourself from burnout, and it also creates a great example for the kids. Try to create a list of things to do each day to bring joy into your life, and maybe share those moments with your kids!
If you want to develop empathy and stress-management skills in your kids, you shouldn’t mask your feelings to them. If you’re having a rough day, share with your children why you feel that way. For instance, due to social distancing guidelines, many of us have not seen our family in quite some time. You might feel bummed that you missed another holiday this year, and your kids might ask why you seem so sad.
By telling them the reasons why you feel this way, you help them identify and validate these emotions. You can then create a coping strategy. For instance, while you were not able to have a face-to-face dinner with your family for Easter this year, you still managed to have a virtual meeting. The concept of reuniting the family on a holiday still exists, albeit in a different format.
Spend More Time Together as a Family
While you develop routines for your family, make sure to put effort into making fun routines. For instance, dedicate your Saturdays to exploring a new park. Look up nearby parks, or venture out into state parks. These small routines can help develop strong familial relationships as well as giving your children something to look forward to every weekend. At the end of the day, ask your children for three good things that happened today. This can help them practice gratitude.