Expert Talk: How To Ensure Mental Well-Being Of Children

Expert Talk: How To Ensure Mental Well-Being Of Children

As opposed to all the emphasis on physical growth and health in schools and other educational institutes, ‘mental health’ is a term not yet associated with children. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), children and adolescents across all age groups are at a critical age when it comes to their overall brain development, which is codependent on their mental well-being. And this, in turn, makes having good mental health an increasingly vital aspect of every child’s all-around, holistic growth and development. In this article, Vahbiz Kerawalla, Counsellor at Jasudben ML School & Bloomingdales Pre-Primary, shares the importance of mental well-being for children and how to achieve that.

What is good mental health for children?

Having good mental health and well-being for children encompasses their ability to learn, alongside their ability to feel, express and manage a range of emotions, form and maintain healthy relationships, as well as cope with and manage uncertainties. All this will eventually empower them to navigate their future worlds successfully.

But how can we, as educators and parents, ensure the better mental well-being of our children? Here are some suggestions by the expert.

Celebrate hard work and failures too

Children are often pressured to be competitive with their peers and be the best amongst them. Failing to meet the expectations that are set for them without considering their ability or individuality often creates more conflicts while also making them rebellious in some situations.

The truth is that we teach children to celebrate their successes, but we fail to teach them how to celebrate or manage their failures, which is crucial in helping them with the pressures and competition that are thrown their way. And that it is far more necessary to learn the art of working hard without always focusing on the outcomes.

How To Ensure Mental Well-Being Of Children

Guide kids to Troubleshoot but also Allow Autonomy

Children should have the freedom to choose their actions. However, at the same time, we must gently guide them and make them aware of the pros and cons of their actions. But what is vital is letting them choose, make mistakes and learn.

It is also equally important to let them express their emotions freely without being subjected to judgement, especially when they are rude. This is because they still need help learning to regulate their emotions, which even we, as adults, struggle with in our day-to-day lives.

Furthermore, we must resist fixing their problems for them. Instead, we should guide them through insight-developing skills of questioning, ‘What can we do to make this better?’ and ‘How can I help you?’

Patience and Support are Key

All in all, it is necessary to be patient with them and help them learn through the practice of doing instead of mere advice. For instance, you can share some examples from your own life about how you overcame your troubles and let them know they can do it too. And that you will be there to catch them if they fall. Besides this, help them learn time management skills as they have too many options and distractions because Pandora’s Box has been opened – the Internet;  sometimes it makes it difficult for them to balance academics and extracurriculars.

Mental Well-Being Of Children

“I believe a child needs to know that they matter – whether without all their achievements or with their achievements. And the elders in their life can help them realise this. I’ll urge parents to spend time talking, discussing and being physically present for their children to help them open up and share things about which they feel stuck or confused,” shares Dr. Kerawalla.

Hugs Make Happy Kids

A family therapist, Virginia Satir once said,  “We need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance and 12 hugs a day for growth.” The older children get, we more often than not cease letting them know we love them. However, starting now can go a long way toward helping them deal with their mental health, thereby invariably boosting their overall mental well-being.

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