Parents are concerned about their children’s healthy diet and physical health, but now experts claim that child’s mental health is just as important. Taking care of children’s diet and physical health is relatively easy as everything is visible but for most parents, it is a challenge to know what the mental state of the children is and how to make them possess a mentally strong personality.
COVID-19 impacting a child’s mental health- A real Life Story
Up until mid-March, David Gitman * five-year-old son was like many kindergarten-age kids: busy and social, attending school five days a week, and Hebrew School lessons on Sunday. “We were also seeing family and friends During Friday and Sabbath,” says David.
That’s all changed now due to the pandemic, and David is worried how being isolated from others is having a toll on his child’s mental health. “he regularly tells us she wants things to go back to normal, or that she misses her friends and family. He is having way more tantrums and is easily frustrated,” she says, adding that it’s also now hard to motivate her to do things she used to like to do.
Check Out What a Therapist Suggests for Mental health of child.
Amir Haimove, a therapist in Toronto whose practice includes children with special needs, says,” this type of behavior in a kid right now is not a surprise. This has been such a major disruption, everyone’s life has been turned upside down,” she explains. She says this type of sudden change can cause anybody, including kids, to experience feelings that could negatively impact mental well-being, like anger, frustration, disappointment, and sadness. “There’s the boredom factor as well,” he adds.
If your kids are acting out but say they’re doing just fine, know that their actions are more representative of their emotions than their words are. Kids often have difficulty expressing their feelings.“They don’t know how to say, ‘I’m feeling lonely.’ Instead, they’re having meltdowns. Or they’re starting to avoid social contacts. Those are very normal responses to types of stress, even if they don’t seem to make a lot of sense to parents,” he says.
If your child’s behavior suggests they might be struggling with mental issues. Here are some tips to help the Child’s mental health.
1. Check-in with yourself.
“Kids use their parents as a barometer for understanding how afraid or how anxious or stressed they should also feel,” explains Amir Haimove. He recommends when you wake up in the morning to think about how you’re feeling that day—maybe you’re overwhelmed because you didn’t sleep well, groceries are low, you have to work and you’re dreading helping your kid with their math work—and then decide what you can realistically achieve that day. This will help keep your stress levels in check and help the model to your kid that you can cope with. Eventually, your Child’s mental health will be restored.
2. Connect with your kid.
Be sure to touch base at least once a day to see how your kid is feeling. At dinner, for example, you can ask what was one thing that was hard that day, what was a good thing that happened that day, and what’s one thing your kid is grateful for. This is a good chance to normalize Child’s mental health. Any feelings of anxiety or sadness—for example, if your kid is worried their friends will have moved on and won’t want to be friends anymore when they get back to school, tell them other kids are probably feeling this way too.
3. Don’t jump to problem-solving.
It can be one of the hardest things, but when your kid is missing their friends or feeling bored, it’s important to let them sit in those feelings. “This is easier said than done; our impulse is to problem solve and protect our kids,” she says. Instead, mirror what they are feeling with your tone of voice and facial expression, and state what you think they’re feeling. For example: “I imagine you’re feeling really angry right now.” This will let them know you understand what they’re going through. And that validation will make them feel better. Eventually, developing a Child’s mental health.
4. Focus on structure.
Kids thrive on consistency, so it’s important to keep some semblance of routine at home. This is, of course, challenging when you’re juggling multiple things like work, e-learning, making meals, etc. Luckily, the schedule doesn’t need to be too rigid. “I believe in structure, with flexibility,” she explains. That means don’t force your kid to do an art activity if they are not into that day, just because it’s on the schedule. Instead, focus on the basics: Eating meals at consistent times, having a regular bedtime, setting aside some quiet time, and getting outside every day.
5. Be sure to move.
Exercise protects against the impacts of negative stress, but it can be a challenge to keep up physical activity when we’re being told to stay home. To make sure your kids get their heart rates up. He recommends things like doing jumping jacks or push-ups together or using apps like GoNoodle.
6. Don’t avoid worry.
We’re living through a time where it makes sense to be anxious. So don’t brush those feelings aside. For example, if your child voices that they’re afraid their grandparent might die. You might be tempted to say, “Oh, don’t worry about Grandma. She’ll be fine.” Instead, talk about the things you’re doing to keep grandparents safe, like not visiting with them in person.
7. Keep up social connections.
Pre-pandemic, school-age kids, and those in daycare. Spent the majority of their time with their peers and teachers. “Those connections were removed overnight. Maintaining them is essential,” This will lead to stable mental well-being.
8. Bust the boredom.
Boredom is actually great for kids. That’s when they start getting creative. But without a lot of stimulation, your kid might be starting to feel less motivated and is likely getting tired of their go-to activities. Here’s where you can step in to spice things up: set up a tent in the backyard. Or go for a family walk in your pajamas. Or try out some new cake decorating techniques together, to give a boost to your Child’s mental health development.
9. Monitor screen use.
A child’s behavior taking a turn because of all the time they’re spending on screens. “It’s hard because screens are an outlet for kids, and often they’re an outlet for parents because it frees them up to do what they need to do.”
Thus, eliminating screen use is not realistic, but it does make sense to monitor it. And set time limits so your child is not feeling overstimulated and walking away from the video game with some negative thoughts. Especially the feelings that are resulting in more reactive type behaviors.”
10. Foster resilience.
We are living through some pretty tough times right now. COVID-19 has created a lot of health as well as psychological disruptions to Child’s mental health around the globe. But MacDonald says this is actually an opportunity to show our kids that they’re able to cope. And fix the Child’s mental health issues.
“This is kind of like a worst-case scenario, the type of thing people with anxiety often dress rehearse in their minds,” he says. “I’m hopeful that this may be a time that kids can draw upon. They’ll remember. When we were all at home and that was so hard, but we were able to do it and figure it out as a family.”
If kids are having a tough time. Wiseman suggests changing the conversation. To what they can do to connect and help others right now.
If you or your child is really suffering. However, be sure to reach out to your doctor or mental health professional. “Everyone will have a different story coming out of this. Even some will have a more difficult time than others. Children may emerge from this time dealing with a lot of grief and loss,” adding that support for a child’s mental health is necessary.