Guest Article by Mental Wellness Centre - Dorothy Watson
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Article provided by Dorothy Watson. She grew up with a single mother who suffered from bipolar disorder. Her mom wasn't properly diagnosed until Dorothy was about 12 years old, so she saw her mom struggle for a long time. Since she has seen how hard life can be for people whose mental health hasn't been properly addressed, she is an advocate for mental wellness. You can learn more at mentalwellnesscenter.info.
Just like adults, children sometimes experience stress and anxiety. As a caring parent, you want to help your kids overcome these feelings and become more confident and resilient. We’ve gathered some tips you can use to teach your children self-care, and a few techniques they can implement to make their lives less stressful and more joyful:
Stay Organized at Home
Are you tired of always asking your children to pick up their belongings? If the constant arguing is creating friction in your house, help them keep their living space organized, be it in their bedroom, playroom or den. Start by decluttering the room: give away toys that are no longer played with, throw away broken crayons and depleted craft supplies, and make sure everything that you’re keeping will have a home somewhere. Invest in colorful bins and pretty storage drawers that are easy for little hands to open and close. Label those storage containers to help your little one know where everything belongs (draw a picture or add a sticker representing the items being stored there for younger children that can’t read yet).
Keep Them Active
Engage your little one’s mind with fun, creative activities like painting, playing music, or dancing. Discover what your kid’s passion is and nurture it. Take them to art or acting classes, sign them up for sports, and don’t get upset or frustrated if they decide that some activity is just not for them. Let them explore their options and find out for themselves what they enjoy doing. Encourage them to express their creativity and try not to “hover” or interfere; letting them be themselves will boost their self-confidence. Having a creative or physical outlet has also been proven to prevent or alleviate stress and anxiety for both children and adults, so while your child is enjoying their hobby, find time to pursue your own as well.
If you sense that your child is stressed out, nervous or anxious, teach them mindfulness and meditation. Even young children can learn to meditate, so take the time to sit together in a comfortable position and practice mindfulness, paying attention to what is happening in the present. This practice will improve their sense of self-awareness, as well as help them to manage their impulses; it will increase their focus at school, and they will be better equipped to resolve conflicts. In short, teaching them to meditate will give them the tools to feel confident even during challenging and stressful times.
Establish Good Sleeping Habits
Create a routine to let your child know it’s time for bed. Give them a calming bath, have them brush their teeth and put on some comfy PJs, and snuggle up with them to read a story or two before bedtime. Stay consistent when it comes to the time at night you put them to sleep, even on weekends. If your child is having a hard time falling asleep because of worries at school or problems with siblings, writing them down in a journal earlier in the day might help put those concerns to rest–at least for the night. Try to be a good role model and turn off your electronic devices before you turn in for the night, as screen time stimulates the brain and makes it harder to fall asleep.
Many techniques that adults use to reset and refresh can be applied to children. Find the ones that work best for your children and for your family. Give them space to express themselves and you’ll soon have happy, self-confident children ready to take on the world.
Rosy Window Staff