Having good mental health is as equally important to children for their overall wellbeing it is for adults. However, a majority of children are taught how to read and write at school, and about how to display good manners at home – but nowhere is the importance of mental health for children is given much importance. This is vitally important, as poor outcomes of mental health can greatly affect their wellbeing.
Parents should guide their children on self-awareness of their feelings, how to self-regulate it, and be resilient amidst the daily challenges of being a kid in the modern world. A child’s mental health is as important as their physical health, and therefore, must be given equal priority.
Here is why, and how you can make the addition of mental health education a foundational part of your child’s life and their development.
Why should Kids Mental Health Education start at a young age?
The lack of focus on kids’ mental health literacy has resulted in a concerning rise in mental health problems experienced in children. Consequently, this will lead to declining mental wellbeing potentially experienced later in life. This might be one reason why the prevalence of kids’ mental health problems in Australia has not decreased in the last 15 years. That too, despite Australian mental health studies and expert’s efforts to create and increase awareness amongst the public.
Implementing mental health education earlier in childhood has been shown to reduce the stigma held around discussion about mental health. Negative attitudes held toward stereotyped groups can lead to further distress, shame, and anxiety. By implementing education about mental health at an early age, we begin to normalise these conversations around mental illnesses. Consequently, this will help eliminate the stigma surrounding it.
Emotional development is a key part of a child’s healthy growth and is an important factor in a child’s mental wellbeing as they mature. It is increasingly important to prepare your kids with essential toolkits and knowledge. This is important so that they can tackle the challenges that they will inevitably face on their journey of growth and maturity. In experiences of loss of loved ones, family illness, or traumatic events, a child who is better prepared to cope with the potential negative mental health effects will be able to recover and adapt more effectively as they progress into maturity.
Being mentally healthy allows children to become comfortable socially. It also regulates their behaviour and increases their confidence in dealing with potential challenges they may face, whether directly related to mental wellbeing or not. It is important for kids to be equipped with the tools to build up their resilience to pass through and overcome difficult times with minimal emotional and mental harm.
Furthermore, they should become comfortable with connecting with others, whether that be a parent, guardian, teacher, or their friends, and asking for help. After all, a prevention is better than a cure! Here at The Mental Health Coach, we offer parents the toolkits to help guide their children towards a path of growth.
Talking to your Child about their Mental Health
You can help children be more aware of their emotions by talking openly to them about how they are feeling. By communicating openly, you will help them face their emotions better as they mature. It will encourage them to normalise acknowledging their emotions. Furthermore, they will become more comfortable with expressing how they feel. Imagine that you could potentially avoid the woes of adolescence altogether if you were to normalise emotions and feelings children experience earlier on in life? Parents could sigh in relief everywhere!
Learning how to manage a child’s emotions is important for creating resilience. By teaching kids how different emotions influence their actions and behaviours, and how they can manage them in healthy ways, children will become more emotionally mature as they progress into adulthood. Youth Mental Health First Aid Training is the starting place for kids’ mental health education. Learn about mental health to deepen your knowledge on different issues and ways to improve your kid’s toolbox, so as to enable transparent conversations around kids’ mental health.
Incorporating Mental Health Education into your child’s daily routine
Rest and relaxation, movement, mental exercises, play, and socialising are important aspects of mental wellbeing. Sleep is also critical to physical and emotional health. Parents should prioritise sleep as well as play time. They should experiment with creative activities and simply – have fun!
There are a variety of activities that can be used to relieve stress and help kids or youths learn how to reflect on their emotions. Meditation is one of the activities that parents should incorporate in their child’s daily routine. A gratitude exercise, or light physical exercise are some forms of meditative activities that could be incorporated.
The Mental Health Coach’s programs such as the Personal Mental Health Coaching and Youth MHFA offer guidance on this and much more. To know about what you will learn in the Youth MHFA program, you can read our detailed post on it here.
Preparing children for adulthood by teaching them about mental health issues potentially faced by children in general is crucial for a well-rounded education. At Mental Health Coach, we aim to be a place of support. We also want to give you and your family the essential tool kits to build better mental health. The Mental Health First Aid Course for youth and the Personalised Mental Health Coaching program are created to equip youths and parents with the necessary skills and knowledge for better mental health management. Contact us today to know more about the other courses we offer or to join one of our courses.