What Every Child Needs For Good Mental Health

It is easy for parents to identify their child’s physical needs: nutritious food, warm clothes when it’s cold, bedtime at a reasonable hour. However, a child’s mental and emotional needs may not be as obvious. Good mental health allows children to think clearly, develop socially and learn new skills.  Additionally, good friends and  encouraging words from adults are all important for helping children develop self confidence, high self-esteem, and a healthy emotional outlook on life.

A child’s physical and mental health are both important.

Basics for a child’s good physical health:

  • Nutritious food
  • Adequate shelter and sleep
  • Exercise
  • Immunizations
  • Healthy living environment

Basics for a child’s good mental health:

  • Unconditional love from family
  • Self-confidence and high self-esteem
  • The opportunity to play with other children
  • Encouraging teachers and supportive caretakers
  • Safe and secure surroundings
  • Appropriate guidance and discipline

Give children unconditional love.

Love, security and acceptance should be at the heart of family life.  Children need to know that your love does not depend on his or her accomplishments.

Mistakes and/or defeats should be expected and accepted. Confidence grows in a home that is full of unconditional love and affection.

Nurture children’s confidence and self-esteem.

  • Praise Them – Encouraging children’s first steps or their ability to learn a new game helps them develop a

    desire to explore and learn about their surroundings. Allow children to explore and play in a safe area where they cannot get hurt.  Assure them by smiling and talking to them often. Be an active participant in their activities. Your attention helps build their self-confidence and self-esteem.

  • Set Realistic Goals – Young children need realistic goals that match their ambitions with their abilities. With your help, older children can choose activities that test their abilities and increase their self-confidence.
  • Be Honest – Do not hide your failures from your children. It is important for them to know that we all make mistakes. It can be very re-assuring to know that adults are not perfect.
  • Avoid Sarcastic Remarks – If a child loses a game or fails a test, find out how he or she feels about the situation. Children may get discouraged and need a pep talk. Later, when they are ready, talk and offer assurance.
  • Encourage children – To not only strive to do their best, but also to enjoy the process. Trying new activities teaches children about teamwork, self-esteem and new skills.

Make time for play!

Encourage Children to Play

To children, play is just fun. However, playtime is as important to their development as food and good care. Playtime helps children be creative, learn problem-solving skills and learn self-control.  Good, hardy play, which includes running and yelling, is not only fun, but helps children to be physically and mentally healthy.

Children Need Playmates

Sometimes it is important for children to have time with their peers.  By playing with others, children discover their strengths and weaknesses, develop a sense of belonging, and learn how to get along with others. Consider finding a good children’s program through neighbors, local community centers, schools, or your local park and recreation department.

Parents Can be Great Playmates

Join the fun! Playing Monopoly or coloring with a child gives you a great opportunity to share ideas and spend time together in a relaxed setting.

Play for Fun

Winning is not as important as being involved and enjoying the activity. One of the most important questions to ask children is “Did you have fun?’’ not “Did you win?”

In our goal-oriented society, we often acknowledge only success and winning. This attitude can be discouraging and frustrating to children who are learning and experimenting with new activities. It’s more important for children to participate and enjoy themselves.

TV use should be monitored

Try not to use TV as a “baby-sitter” on a regular basis.  Be selective in choosing television shows for children. Some shows can be educational as well as entertaining.

School should be fun!

Starting school is a big event for children. “Playing school” can be a positive way to give them a glimpse of school life.

Try to enroll them in a pre-school, Head Start, or similar community program which provides an opportunity to be with other kids and make new friends. Children can also learn academic basics as well as how to make decisions and cope with problems.

To read more please follow : http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/every-child-needs

 

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