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Strategies to Safeguard Your Child’s Wellbeing and Mental Health



Strategies to Safeguard Your Child's Wellbeing and Mental Health

The culture in which we live exalts success. However, experts believe it’s time to slow down, accept the present, and give kids the room and time to be, well, kids when it comes to their mental health.

According to Gordon Shaw, a psychologist at The LightHouse Centre for Wellbeing in Dubai, “children’s mental health is significantly impacted by society’s relentless pursuit of productivity and success.” Shaw contends that safeguarding children’s childhoods is essential to ensuring their wellbeing. He says that in order to raise resilient and emotionally healthy people, it’s critical to strike a balance between the pursuit of achievement and a more holistic approach to childrearing.

It all comes down to connecting with people, embracing simplicity, and returning to the fundamentals. “It’s an approach that nurtures creativity, imagination, and critical thinking,” according to Shaw.

The National approached a variety of professionals for their advice and methods in order to learn more about how eager parents can assist.

Schedules for Scrapping

Shaw claims that “unstructured play and leisure, which is vital for a child’s cognitive and emotional development, are left with little room in the overscheduled lives imposed by societal norms.” Children who are frequently rushed from one activity to the next are overstimulated all the time.

Over time, as individuals get older and acclimated to a particular pace, they frequently find themselves looking for outside entertainment or stimulation because they can’t cope with the routine and silence of daily life.

Parent consultant and co-founder of The Wise Parent Karen Abou Jaoude says, “Boredom is a good thing.” “Creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving are encouraged by boredom. Kids come up with inventive ways to amuse themselves when left on their own. They become more proficient at this the more they practice.

Parents should prioritize the quality of experiences over the amount of activities, play dates, and outings when filling their children’s schedules. Children who embrace a slower pace of life not only become more aware of their surroundings but also gain resilience, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence, all of which help them succeed as they get older.

Shaw adds: “Choosing less over more and prioritising slowness over productivity can be beneficial.”

Reduce The Amount of Time Spent On Screens

Setting limits on technology and cutting down on screen time is one of the hardest parenting tasks that faces all parents. According to Shaw, “children are exposed to excessive screen time and potential adverse effects on mental well-being due to the pervasive use of technology, which is encouraged by a business-centric culture.”

The main issue with screen time, according to Sarah Raslan, co-founder of The Wise Parent, is that it takes away from our kids’ opportunities to learn about the outside world. Instead of spending that time actively and engagedly on something that might benefit their development, they are spending it passively.

Raslan makes the argument that an excessive amount of screen time is bad for social skills, general wellbeing, and sleep quality. She stresses the necessity for some flexibility while advising parents to set “firm and loving boundaries” around screen usage in order to combat this.

“The key here is predictability,” Raslan explains. “When screentime is scattered throughout the day or week, a child will never know when they are allowed to watch. Whereas, if there is more predictability, including how long and when they’re allowed to watch, a child will be less likely to ask for it at random moments. This leads to a decrease in power struggles and meltdowns around screentime.”

Clear and Concise Communication

Establishing a nurturing atmosphere in which kids are at ease sharing their ideas and feelings will promote candor and candid discussions for many years to come.

“Sharing problems or difficult feelings together can help children overcome any issues, whilst feeling supported and safe,” says Sophie Jones, a child development specialist and parenting advisor with over 20 years of experience.

She says that by talking about their own emotions, parents can help their kids realize that it’s okay to feel uncomfortable or uncomfortable.

Shaw agrees: “It fosters trust and strengthens the parent-child bond. It allows parents to identify and address potential mental health concerns early, promoting emotional resilience in children,” he explains.

Make Play a Priority

Children’s social, cognitive, emotional, and problem-solving development all depend on play. It is recommended that parents of younger children incorporate plenty unstructured playtime into their daily routine.

Little ones can explore, create, and learn freely when they play in an unstructured environment without having to follow established rules, boundaries, or restrictions. This allows kids to naturally and intuitively explore their own interests and imaginations without adult supervision.

“Play offers a natural outlet for stress relief, enhancing children’s mental and emotional resilience, and regularly engaging in play can have long-term, lasting benefits,” says Shaw.

Jones concurs and reminds parents that even school-age kids require playtime to foster friendships, teach them about rules, and foster their creativity.

Acknowledge Feelings

Validating children’s emotions and building emotional literacy can have a major impact on overall well-being. “Emotions can be overwhelming and confusing for little ones,” says Abou Jaoude. “One of our jobs as parents is to support our children as they navigate the whirlwind of their emotions by helping them identify the emotions, validating they exist and believing their experiences are real to them,” she adds.

She continues by saying that youngsters feel less perplexed about what is going on inside of them when we help them comprehend their sensations. Furthermore, if we go a step further and give the feelings validation, it creates a sense of security.

“This might look like saying: ‘You’re feeling frustrated’, or ‘It’s OK to be angry’, or ‘You’re having a tough time right now’. This validation helps them feel safe and seen – which is a key factor in supporting mental health.”

Suss Sleep

Children’s growth and development depend on sleep, which is also essential for ensuring that their bodies and minds operate at their best. “Lack of sleep can have an effect on mood, concentration, behaviour, ability to learn new skills, appetite and emotional well-being,” says Jones.

The child development specialist advises creating clear, consistent bedtime and daytime routines to help kids obtain the recommended amount of sleep. This will help to create balance in your child’s day. For instance, being active, minimizing screen time, and spending time outside throughout the day can all significantly improve the quality of your sleep.


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