Raising Emotionally Healthy Children

Thursday, August 13 at 09:40 AM
Category: Personal Finance

As a parent, you work hard to maintain your children's physical health. You ensure they eat the right foods, visit their pediatricians for regular checkups and get the sleep they need. There's another aspect of children's health that is just as important — your children's emotional health. Here are some suggestions from the American Academy of Pediatrics* (APA) to help your children feel good about themselves on the inside.

  • Praise your children early and often. Even praise for the smallest thing — getting along with siblings, cleaning up — can make a difference in a child's self-esteem.
  • Spend time with your child. Play their favorite game, read a book, and engage in activities that allow you to talk to each other.
  • Try to find playgroups for your children so they can connect with other children in their peer group.
  • Limit the use of technology. The APA recommends no more than two hours of television for children over two.
  • Spend quality family time. Try to sit down for meals at the same time and to encourage children to talk about the best and most difficult parts of their days.
  • Remember you are your child's role model. If your child sees you participating in positive behaviors, such as reading, exercising and limiting technology, they are more likely to mirror your behavior.
  • Have regular bedtime routines and stick to them. Children need consistency — and plenty of rest.
  • Be consistent in your co-parenting. If you set a limit, such as a bedtime, make sure your spouse/partner follows the same rules.
  • Encourage your children to advocate for themselves and speak up when they need help.
  • Teach your children appropriate ways to handle frustration. Frustration is a part of daily life and you should teach your children constructive ways to handle difficult feelings.
  • Understand and respect your children's feelings. If your child is upset about something, listen to him or her and validate their feelings.
  • Address behavioral issues. If your child misbehaves, be clear on what they did wrong and offer appropriate consequences.
One of the most important things to remember as a parent is your child's well-being is directly related to your well-being. If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, in all likelihood, your children will feel that way. That's why it's important for parents to take care of themselves and their own mental health as well. It may sound like a simple formula, but happy parents = happy children.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

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