Healthy mental and behavioural development during childhood is important for a productive and healthy adulthood. Positive mental health development fosters optimal growth and resilience in young people and contributes to a healthy life. Children who are stressed or anxious on the other hand, are more vulnerable to physical illnesses and less prepared to deal with the stressors and challenges of daily life.
What can you do that fosters mental health in your children?
Show them you care and encourage healthy self-regulating and soothing strategies:
Giving your child affection, time and attention is part of that. You can do that by spending time walking in nature or visiting a park as a great way for children to have positive family time and develop appreciation and respect.
Show them that they are wanted and loved. It helps children get through the hard times in life because it provides the opportunity to explore their feelings, thoughts, and behaviours. It also provides space to learn and how to regulate themselves in healthy ways. When children are hurt or frightened, sad or angry, being comforted helps them feel as if they’re not alone with their big feelings.
By observing your own healthy regulation and being a positive role model whether it be through staying calm and patient, expressing how you feel, deep breathing or by stopping and brainstorming solutions, children will learn means and tools to comfort themselves when challenges arise.
Focus on strengths and reinforce positive behaviours:
Reflect on what you appreciate about your child(ren). Express the great character traits they display in various situations. This in turn gives them the confidence to keep trying and the knowledge that their efforts are more likely to pay off.
Show them that mistakes are okay.
Set them up for success by letting them accomplish one task at a time.
Provide consistent expectations and support.
Highlight their successes and the thoughts and actions that made it happen. Positive constructive feedback validates and reinforces behaviours that are valued by others.