When we talk about mental health, things that come to mind are counseling, psychology, therapy, and assessments. However, one of the most effective ways to be mentally healthy is by engaging in family activities and spending time with family.
In this busy world, many parents don’t have time to spend with their children and are often left under someone else’s care or left on their own. In modern parenting, there are two extremes that can be viewed: completely leaving the child under someone’s care, hoarding, or being too closely involved with the child without giving them enough space to express their individuality. Both of these extremes can harm the child’s mental health.
Self-efficacy, self-esteem, resilience, healthy ways of regulating emotions and their beliefs about themselves, others, and the world are developed in the early interaction with the children. Families are the first and the most significant relationship in an individual’s life. These early influences play a major role in a child’s development, the attachment pattern, parenting style, and psychosocial development all have an influence on the child. When parents don’t have an attachment to the child through constant anger outbursts, domestic violence, or neglect towards the child’s physical and emotional needs, the child is more likely to have mental health issues in the future. If the child is not loved and accepted in the family setting, they may seek love and acceptance in different ways, which can physically and mentally harm them. A strong family association can help the child thrive in every area of life. Here are some of the simple ideas for parents to engage with their child.
Put your phones away
Children need their parents undivided attention and engagement while doing an activity together. When parents keep their phones aside and pay full attention to their children, they feel valued and respected. Planning and developing different hobbies with the child can be helpful to put the phones down. Set a specific time for phone usage in your house, which can be beneficial for your child as well, so that in the limited time, the child and the parent can use the gadgets. Keeping the phone out of sight while engaging with the child can help overcome phone distractions.
Quality Time Jar
It can become difficult for parents to plan and organize activities with their children. Here is a suggestion on how to find an activity: Take an empty jar and fill it with papers with different activities that you could do with your child. You can start off by taking a paper randomly from the jar and doing the activity mentioned on the paper with your child. During the activity, fully engage with the child, laugh, and be silly with the child.
Allocate an hour or two just to converse with your child. Talk about your day and let the child talk about their day. These conversations will make the child feel safe and secure, with an understanding that the child can communicate anything with the parent. Children adore their parents and often have the assumption that parents do not make mistakes. Parents can openly talk about their mistakes and failures that they have encountered in life, which helps the child to develop a positive attitude towards failure and making mistakes.
Words of affirmation
Parents should be careful when using the words with the child, especially when disciplining and guiding them. In situations where the child didn’t get the desired marks or come in first place in a competition, it is essential for parents to be encouraging and supportive, as the child will already be disappointed with their performance and tend to blame them. The words of encouragement and assurance can help the child develop healthy self-esteem, confidence, self-efficacy, resilience, a growth mindset, and the courage to face disappointments and failures.
Parents spending time with their children in the early development stage is essential for the child’s overall well-being and development. When that time is missed, it becomes too late to change the damage or issues faced by them. Time spent with your kids is never wasted.
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