Coronavirus has affected our mental health, but have you ever thought about the impact on our kids? The effect of missing their friends, interactions with classmates and teachers, and activities that were part of a pre-coronavirus shutdown is often overlooked. The emotional well-being of our kids is always important. Here’s what you need to know to make your child’s mental health a priority in coronatimes and beyond.
What You Need to Know to Make Your Child’s Mental Health a Priority
Learn About Childhood Mental Disorders
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mental health in children means reaching developmental and emotional milestones, and learning healthy social skills. Children who are mentally healthy know how to cope when there are problems. They function well at home, in school, and in their communities.
Mental disorders among children are described as serious changes in the way children typically learn, behave, or handle their emotions. This can cause distress and problems getting through the day. Many children have occasional fears, worries, or disruptive behaviors. While these are developmentally appropriate, symptoms that are severe and persistent are not.
Mental disorders among children are described as serious changes in the way children typically learn, behave, or handle their emotions. Severe and persistent symptoms that interfere with school, home, play, cause distress, or problems getting through the day may be indicative of a mental disorder.
Understand the Impact of Mental Disorders on Mental Health
Research from the National Council for Behavioral Health found half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14, three quarters by age 24. Symptoms of mental disorders change over time. Symptoms often start in early childhood, although some disorders may develop during the teenage years.
Mental health is important to overall health. Mental disorders are considered chronic health conditions. Chronic health conditions go on for a long time. They often don’t go away completely and can continue throughout someone’s life.
Without early diagnosis and treatment, children with mental disorders can have problems at home, in school, and in forming friendships. This can also interfere with their healthy development, and these problems can continue into adulthood.
Know When to Seek Help
The CDC says it’s important to treat a child’s mental health problems as soon as possible. Early detection and can help children reduce problems at home, in school, and in forming friendships. It can also help with healthy development into adulthood.
The CDC recommends psychological or behavior therapy as strategies for helping kids manage their symptoms. Read more about their recommendations for therapy to improve children’s mental health.
Nurture Your Child’s Mental Health
Just as we want our child’s bodies to be healthy, we want their minds to be too. Caring for Kids recommends these strategies for nurturing your child’s mental health:
- Help children build strong and caring relationships
- Assist children in developing self-esteem so they can feel good about themselves
- Listen and respect their feelings
- Create a safe and positive home environment
- Help children solve problems in difficult situations
Use Age Appropriate Mindfulness Apps to Promote Mental Health
Age appropriate apps can be also helpful in promoting positivity and emotional wellbeing. Here are 6 apps that boost health and mindfulness. Click on each to read the review on Common Sense Media.
Preschoolers (ages 4+):
Elementary Ages (ages 7+):
Tweens (ages 11+):
Teens (ages 17+)
In addition to unbiased reviews of apps, Common Sense Media also has a great list of age appropriate books that feature characters dealing with mental illness and movies that promote perseverance.
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