There’s no doubt that emotional health is equally as important as physical health. For parents, raising a child with a healthy emotional well-being is an immense responsibility. Studies show that as many as 1 in 10 children and young people are affected by mental health challenges. Because of this, it’s important that parents strive to educate their children about mental health and focus on efforts to help their children become emotionally resilient.
Emotional resilience can benefit children in many ways; not only will children have a higher sense of confidence and self-esteem, but they will also easily bounce back from failure, conquer challenges, and reach their true potential. While this can seem like a colossal undertaking, these 5 tips can help parents raise an emotionally healthy child:
1. Focus on Feelings
It’s important to teach your child at a very young age (think infancy) to express their feelings. Whether your child is angry, sad, happy, excited or scared, it’s important to acknowledge what emotions your child is feeling. Once identified, you can teach them the skills needed to cope and deal with that feeling. Show real interest in your child’s feelings and help them express and manage their emotions in a healthy way.
2. Let Them Make Mistakes
While not always fun, mistakes help children learn. It’s important to teach your child that it’s ok to make mistakes. It’s ok to fail. It’s ok to be wrong. Teaching your child that mistakes are ok, and encouraged, can help them develop a healthy relationship with failure and teach them how to deal with shortcomings in a positive way.
3. Let Them Make Decisions
Not only will allowing your child to make some of their own (age-appropriate) decisions help foster their independence, it will also help them deal with the consequences or rewards of their own actions.
4. Nurture Them
There is no such thing as too much love! Caring, nurturing, and loving on your child is a BIG way to help them feel emotionally secure and will also help them grow into loving adults.
5. Lead by Example and Take Care of Your Own Emotional Well-Being
Parents need to practice what they preach. By taking care of your own emotional health you can, in turn, help your child grow into an emotionally healthy little person.
As Director of Curriculum & Training at The Little Gym International and a mother myself, it’s important for me to explore new ways to instill confidence and resilience in my own children and the ones that come through our program. These pieces of advice are to help kids feel emotionally empowered to take on new challenges and know that they don’t have to be the best as long as they are trying their best.