Boost Your Kid’s Mental Health in 3 Easy Steps
In a world filled with violence, sadness, and constant change, it can sometimes be hard to see the good in life. However, as a parent, teaching our kids to be hopeful will not only make them more resilient human beings, but it also lessens their chances for developing depression and anxiety disorders later in life.
We have all heard the phrase "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade", but how exactly do you teach that? We highlight simple ways to bring optimism back into this many times dark world.
1) Exude Positivity & Have Them Mirror It
If you believe, you will succeed. While this mantra is not a guarantee, it is important that children ave faith in themselves and their abilities! Be their cheerleader and get them revved up for big and little moments. Moreover, acknowledge their accomplishments and hard work and share good news as it arises. Bragging on your kids when they are present is an easy way to build confidence and to let them know that you are paying attention.
2) Work on Problem Solving
Life isn't always going to be rainbows and butterflies. There will be moments of hardship and sadness. In these situations, it is imperative that you sit down and have open conversations about these problems and how it makes them feel. Active listening is important in these situations. Then, try to think of ways to make these issues better. This brainstorming session should be a group effort. It is building a life skill that will become extremely beneficial in helping them to always find the light at the end of the tunnel.
3) Teach Them Empathy
One of the easiest ways to introduce your kids to this concept is to spend dinner time talking about the good and bad parts of your day and how it made you feel. Perspective is important in understanding this emotion. Let everyone have a turn to express their moments of happiness and sadness.
Additionally, have them partake in small acts of kindness. For instance, help them bake cookies and give them to a neighbor or friend. This lets them see the benefit of paying it forward and the joy it can bring to others. Volunteering is another great way to broaden their horizons and subtly showcase that we are all given a different set of circumstances in life and we need to make the best of them.
"Research on the development of depression and anxiety suggests that internalizing disorders can be reduced, even prevented, by promoting more accurate cognitive styles, problem-solving skills, and supportive family relationships." There is a value to having hope for bigger and better things and being able to overcome hardships. Help your kids get to a place where they can think proactively and turn life's lemons into a tasty treat.