Mental health encompasses cognitive, emotional, psychological, behavioral, and social well-being. For many different reasons, mental health can take a turn for the worse. Mental health issues do not only happen to adults, children too can have mental health issues. If you are raising children, learning strategies to improve mental health is a worthy investment. Untreated mental health issues affect the way an individual thinks and acts, and it can jeopardize their future.
You want your child to reach their full potential and dreams, and live a happy and fulfilling life, all of which mental health issues can threaten. Below are 5 tips for better child and adolescent mental health that you can employ.
#1 Show Affection
Children who are shown affection have better mental health. Hugging and kissing your child communicates love. It builds their self-esteem – the sense of value and worth – and it is key to positive mental health. Affection from parents or guardians also gives them a sense of belonging, which makes them more resilient in life. Studies show that hugging relieves stress and protects against illness.
#2 Spend Quality Time
Quality time means focusing on the present moment, regardless of what it is you may be doing, and connecting with your child. Quality time can happen during breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or after school or right before bed, as long as you are engaged with them and listen to and converse with them. This quality time will go a long way in supporting better mental health.
#3 Provide Encouragement
The things you say can affect your child’s mental health development. Choosing your words wisely and using affirmations and encouraging words can go a long way in building your child’s resilience. Take note to recognize your child’s effort and hard work more than telling them how good they are at something. Apart from recognizing effort, providing encouragement when faced with difficulty is great for self-esteem.
#4 Model Good Behavior
Children learn from adults, usually by observing how they are. Therefore, when you model good behavior, you show your child how to act, especially when faced with challenges. How you treat and talk to people, what to eat and how to prepare nutritious meals, how to deal with disappointment, and what to do with one’s time are opportunities for modeling good behavior.
#5 Consult a Mental Health Specialist
Pediatricians are the primary care providers for children and adolescents. If you are concerned about your child’s mental health development, they are the best resource for advice and recommendations.
The teenage years can be especially difficult for you and your child, and hormonal changes can make it difficult to differentiate between mental illness and a consequence of puberty. What you don’t want is for your child to develop poor coping mechanisms that can affect them into adulthood.
Mental health issues in children can be challenging to spot since they may not understand and be able to fully express how they feel. A pediatrician is a doctor thoroughly trained and experienced in helping improve mental health of children through treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy and medication.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Tuckahoe, NY
At Village Pediatric Group, our pediatricians are highly experienced in treating children with many different types of mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
We maintain a child-friendly and supportive environment, and provide services with utmost care and compassion. Nothing makes us happier than seeing our patients thrive and live happy, productive lives.
For any questions about our mental and behavioral health services or to schedule a consultation, call the Village Pediatric Group in Tuckahoe, New York, today at (914) 771-7070 or use our convenient appointment request form.