Many people consume vitamins for their body’s growth and development and to boost their immune systems. It is known that health supplements are most effective if they are taken regularly to strengthen one’s physical health against possible illnesses.
What about our mental health? What can we do to help our children be resilient? What “vitamins” should we take for a strong mind?
Here are some ways parents can provide their children the best defence against mental health issues:
Affirm your child
Highlight your child’s positive behaviours, no matter how small it is. From keeping their toys to the times when they take the initiation to do a task on their own, affirmation lets your child know that you recognise their efforts. Your encouragement can be as simple as an affirming word, pat on the shoulder or a thumbs up.
Build confidence in your child
Allow your child to take on tasks with your guidance. Doing daily care routines themselves like brushing their teeth helps them to gain confidence as they see themselves improving over time. In times when they make mistakes, use those mistakes as learning points instead of punishing them for it.
Don’t be too quick to judge
Listen to your child if he or she makes a mistake and do not be too quick to judge or give your advice. Doing so will show your child that it is okay to fail, and they do not need to be afraid to share with you their mistakes.
Encourage positive self-talk
Your child needs to believe in themselves, and you can encourage them to speak words that instil self-confidence. Simple phrases such as “I am amazing!” and “I can do it!” would help to change their mindset to see beyond their perceived limitations.
Help your child discover their strengths and weaknesses
Through a variety of interesting activities that you can do together such as art, games, puzzles, sports or singing, your child can learn about their strengths and weaknesses. Focusing on their strengths and guiding them in their weaknesses would enable them to gain a better understanding of themselves.
Model to your child stress management
How you manage stress as an adult and parent would teach your child how to cope with stress. For instance, when a parent is doing a self-care activity, it is okay to share with your child that Mummy or Daddy is managing our stress level by ‘listening to music or running’ and ask if your child wants to join in. Modelling stress management techniques can help your child learn how to cope with stress and understand that stress is part of life. This will help them to face difficult moments rather than ignore the situation or run away from the problem.
Ultimately, the foundation of your child’s mental resilience is based on a close and loving relationship with you. Strong relationships with parents and other caregivers would help your child feel safe and secure. The confidence gained from such safety and security would help your child to press on in view of future challenges in life.
TOUCH Mental Wellness is here to support you and your child. Please call TOUCHline at 1800 377 2252 (Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 6pm) if you would like to speak with a counsellor.
TOUCH Mental Wellness (TMW) runs personalised therapy and counselling programmes to empower individuals to rise above their circumstances. An advocate of mental wellness, TMW has been organising mental wellness awareness mass runs, talks and workshops since 2015. It works closely with corporations to conduct mental wellness talks with an aim of equipping employees with handles to cope with stress and help them build resilience. It also specialises in mental wellness awareness and educational programmes for schools.