Mental health awareness is for everyone. We as adults, we find this pandemic era as emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted. Young children also feel the same way dealing with the new normal setting, distance learning, school closures, social gathering limitations and changes at home. Young children are susceptible to anxiety and stress. They may not say anything but if you notice some red flags of mental health concerns such as anxiety, eating disorder, behavior misconduct and social isolation, then it's time to do something. There are several ways we can help our children. One is parental help. By simply being there for our children. We can help ease their anxieties and stress. Remember that our presence make a lot of whole meaning to them. My background in Psychology and Early Childhood Education are my excellent map to come up with these strategies to help my own children. It is something I want to share with you too.
Give them a balance diet. - More greens and fruits will help balance their emotions.
Give them freedom to play- Not a fan of mess and clutter everywhere? I feel you momma! But that's the best way they learn and when they have the freedom to explore, do pretend play, create and build, we're helping them to develop their sense of self.
Set a virtual play date with their friends- Thanks to technology, we can talk and see our friends and loved ones virtually. They may not see each other physically but your child and his/her friends can still catch up with a virtual playdate.
Play, eat and laugh with them- Let's make our children feel that we're there for them as a parent, as a playmate and as a friend.
Go for a walk together- Fresh air is always best for us. Talk about what you can see around you. How things work. Imagine and discover.
Watch movies as a family and ask mind stimulating questions- Whenever we watch a superhero movie and I would ask my son what would he do if he is a superhero and what super powers does he want to have. You'll be surprised with their answers. You're not just valuing their opinion but you are also encouraging them to express themselves.
Encourage them to try new things - When they feel that their parents have faith in their abilities, they start to feel great about themselves and it boosts self-confidence too.
Identify the your child's cause of negative behavior and emotions- If your child feels temperemental, upset and sad, try to ask why he/she feels that way. Brain storm solutions with your child. Including them in the process will make them feel that they belong and not left out.
Offer assistance if your child is struggling with distance learning, school activities and even in with their shoelace. Praise their efforts and work.
Talk to your kids regarding managing emotions- When dealing with kids, remember to use child-appropriate vocabularies, eye contact and squat down to his eye level. Yelling and screaming will add more stress to them.
Be a good role model- Through demonstrating positive behavior and healthy habits, it will influence your child's development. Kids love to mimic their parents. So smile often.
It's very important that we make our kids feel that they are loved, valued and understood. Life can get really tough sometimes but you are not alone. We can get through with this pandemic. Pray and believe.
If you need a Professional advise. Please reach out for help. There are counselors, pediatric psychologists and mental health professionals that offer assistance to young children and families.
Please contact your Primary Care Physician if you need an urgent care.
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