Children experience much of their world through the lens of how they think and feel about themselves, which can dictate how well they navigate challenges, social relationships, schooling, and the stresses associated with growing up. Parents are accustomed to anticipating and caring for their child’s physical needs, but the care and nurturing of a child’s mental health requires a different approach.
Good mental health is especially important for children, as a solid, positive foundation of emotional well being helps children to develop and progress throughout their lives in a healthy way.
Here are 10 things every child needs for their mental health to better ensure happy, secure growth.
1. Adequate Sleep and Nutrition
As any adult can attest, it’s far more challenging to maintain a sense of composure and well being when hungry, tired, or otherwise undernourished. Children’s mental health relies on a host of physical inputs, and it’s no surprise when a fatigued, dehydrated, or famished child exhibits symptoms of anxiety or unhappiness.
2. Opportunities for Play
Children, even older kids, come to understand the world through play. During playtime, children develop relational understanding, creativity, problem-solving skills, and self-control. Playtime, whether it’s role-playing with friends or solving a puzzle, serves kids mental health by providing a fun, safe outlet for self-expression, exploration, and discovery.
3. Unconditional Love
At the top of the list of child development needs is the requirement that a child experiences unconditional love and acceptance. Children who know that they will be loved and cared for regardless of their talents, accomplishments, or mistakes are more likely to experience a good sense of self-esteem. This can encourage positive self-talk and emotional resilience.
Regular physical activity is not only one of the most important well being activities for kids, but it’s also an incredibly effective way to boost a child’s psychological wellness, too. Exercise triggers the production of happy, feel-good endorphins, and helps children to grow up with strong muscles, bones, joints, coordination skills, and cognitive abilities.
The answer to the question “why is good mental health important” is found in children who feel confident in their abilities and self-assured in their decisions. Children who have experienced praise and positive reinforcement for their efforts know how to take pride in their accomplishments, and can recognise the value of their own hard work–whether they win or lose.
6. Behavioural Tools
Though children cannot always recognise the deeper meaning behind their behaviours, they can learn tools and skills to steer themselves through emotional ups and downs. According to a 2018 study, a child that is equipped with a firm understanding of many different feelings will be better able to detect their own mood shifts and use healthy coping mechanisms to self-soothe and regulate their emotional state.
7. Appropriate Discipline
Children thrive in environments where they are supported and in which they can determine what is expected of them. Aiming to teach and guide children on how to behave rather than punish them for misbehaviours helps children to develop personal responsibility and self-regulation skills, which build confidence and foster self-love.
8. Quality Time
One aspect of a solid mental health care plan for child development is regular quality time with a reliable caregiver. Children need to feel seen, heard, and understood, especially by their closest relatives. Quality time can include listening to a child’s innermost thoughts, assistance in learning to deal with conflict, or a forum for self-expression free of judgement.
When it comes to children’s emotional and psychological development, harmony is key. Swap screen time for healthy outdoor play, reading time, craft projects, or other pastimes that encourage creativity, critical thinking, and expression. Too much idle time can result in feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and isolation, while a balanced day provides a novel, positive activities that ward off depressive and anxious symptoms in children.
10. Safety and Security
Perhaps the most important thing a child needs for good mental health is a sense that they are safe in their environment. Children are bound to feel afraid at one time or another, but the more they can find comfort in things they don’t understand, the braver they will feel in scary situations. Always accept your child’s fears as valid, and establish an environment that helps them to feel secure and free from harm.
Contact Kids Club To Enrol Your Child Today
If you’re looking for childcare that values children’s mental health in addition to quality learning and stimulated play, look no further. With locations in Canberra, New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria, there’s sure to be one near you.