Like any other loving parent, you want the best for your children. If you want to effectively support the long-term psychological wellness of your kids, then make sure you follow these 6 tips.
1. Model Healthy Coping Behaviors
Many children have difficulty coping with their emotions, especially at younger ages. For instance, young children may resort to aggressive behaviors like shouting at or hitting others when they are angry or frustrated. It's important to teach kids to express their emotions in a healthy and constructive way.
As a parent, you can accomplish this goal by modeling healthy coping skills and talking through them with your kids. Activities like making art, going for walks, or deep breathing exercises are effective ways for your kids to process and cope with their feelings (Verywell Family).
2. Talk About Emotions with Regularity
As was just stated, kids learn by watching their parents. Over time, they will start to emulate your modeled behaviors and responses, even when you think they aren't watching! When you practice open communication and talk through your emotions with your kids, they will learn that feelings are normal and they'll gain the emotional vocabulary to discuss their feelings in a healthy way.
For instance, let's assume you had a frustrating day at work. When you mention this to your kids, you can discuss how you handled your emotions in that situation. So, when they have a similar experience at school, they will feel more comfortable processing their emotions.
3. Create Routines and Stick to Them
Daily routines are essential for growing kids because those activities help add structure to their lives. It's no secret that life throws plenty of curveballs at you, and the same will be true for your children.
When their life gets disrupted by a stressful event or intimidating challenge, they'll have to cope with extra stress and uncertainty. Daily routines can help your child remain grounded, reduce stress, and allow them time to develop and grow.
Try scheduling times throughout the day for your kids to study, play, and eat. And don't forget about a bedtime routine too! The Brush, Book, Bed nighttime routine is an excellent nightly habit to get your kids into (AAP).
4. Offer Positive Feedback and Encouragement
Who doesn't like to receive positive feedback and praise? Kids love to get regular encouragement from the adults in their lives. It helps reinforce good behaviors and increases your child's self-esteem.
So be sure to provide positive encouragement whenever possible. Just make sure you are not providing praise for things that are outside of your children's control (e.g., how smart they are, how they look, etc.). And try to avoid using exaggerated compliments, too.
5. Take Note of Any Troubling Signs of Mental Health Issues
Kids will naturally change their behaviors throughout their childhood; it's just a part of growing up. However, it's important to keep a watchful eye on your child's behavioral changes, as they may signify some mental health concerns. Here are just a few common signs that you'll want to look out for:
- Difficulty controlling emotions
- Avoiding normal activities
- Outbursts of anger
- Changes in eating or weight loss
- Your child is becoming withdrawn or isolated
- Your kid feels sad or overly anxious in normal circumstances
- An abrupt change in mood or behavior lasting longer than two weeks
Just remember that some behavioral changes may not be long-lasting or serious and may not signal that your child has a behavioral disorder. Perhaps your child is just stressed or needs some parental support. If you notice behavioral changes, then check in with your child and let them know you're there to support them however they need.
That said, it wouldn't hurt to familiarize yourself with the common symptoms of conditions like ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and depression. Such knowledge may help you better identify when your child is struggling with their mental health.
But remember: please don't diagnose your child yourself. Only a licensed mental health professional can accurately diagnose the problem and offer a plan for treatment that may be successful.
6. Visit A Child Therapist in Chicago
As we said earlier, it's estimated that 1 in 6 U.S. children is diagnosed with a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. That means there are many children out there who likely have an undiagnosed mental health disorder. And it's estimated that only 21% of children with a mental health issue actually receive treatment.
For those reasons (and many others), it may be a good idea to visit a child therapist in Chicago. A family therapy session can be another good option, as it will provide parents with resources and knowledge to better support their child's mental health. Whether you see a family therapist or not, early intervention can be key to treating problems as effectively as possible.
Book Your Child Counseling Session Today
If you're ready to be proactive about your child's mental health, then you've come to the right place.
At Wellington Counseling Group, we offer a wide range of mental health services for both children and adults. In our private practice, we develop personalized treatment plans to help address many different types of disorders and conditions. Our therapy services will gradually help your child navigate the complexities of their life experiences.
Contact us today to book your first session with our child therapist in Chicago.