How to nurture good mental health in children

child mental health, parenting tips

It is important that on a daily basis you make time to talk and listen to your child. (Source: Getty Images)

By Pankaj Kumar Singh

A strong relationship not only makes you a better human but also emotionally active. And these emotions directly and positively affect your child's mental health. While building the bond with your kids, tell them that you love them, no matter what. You can also show love through your body language and nonverbal communication - and by giving him lots of cuddles too! Praise and encourage your child when she does something well or behaves in a way that you like.

It is important that on a daily basis you make time to talk and listen to your child. If your child wants to talk, listen and give full attention. Also, encourage your child to connect with others in the community and build relationships and bonds beyond the four walls of the house. 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. Here are a few key elements that can help develop good mental health in kids and this calls for parents to play a crucial role.

Unconditional love

It is important to make them feel loved, cared for and accepted. 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.

Boost confidence and self-esteem

Encourage them to live their dreams and make mistakes, but at the same time learn from those mistakes and grow. Also, ask them to be proud of where they belong.

Praise and surprise

Allow children to explore and play in a safe area where they don't get hurt. Praise them for their efforts and at times surprise them with rewards in terms of toys or chocolates. Remember, your attention will help 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

Be one family and share everything. It is not required to portray an image of being the perfect parents. Let them know about your mistakes so they know the real world and prepare themselves for the future.

Encourage them to play

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

Be the playmate

After office hours, join the fun. Playing with kids will not only make them happy but will also help you relax after a tiring day at work. Try it and feel the difference.

Also Read| Why mental health issues are increasing in children

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

While it is not possible to sit and observe, but make sure that they have access to content that is healthy for them.

Develop discipline

Children need the opportunity to explore and develop new skills and independence. At the same time, children need to learn that certain behaviours are unacceptable and that they are responsible for the consequences of their actions. Inculcate discipline and mannerism in your kids at an early age to make them good humans.

Avoid nagging and threats

When they go wrong, don't shout, rather make them understand what went wrong and then guide them the right path. Nagging and threats can be dangerous in the long run. Give children the reasons "why" you are disciplining them and what the potential consequences of their actions might be.

(The writer is Managing Director, Jalsa Ventures Pvt Ltd, Cambridge Montessori Pre-School.)