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Worried about your child’s mental health? 5 parenting tips by an expert to support your kid’s well-being

Komal Nathani, Headmistress, Apeejay Rhythms Kinderworld, GK-2, New Delhi shares simple tips to boost the mental well-being of your little one (s) and foster creativity.

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The outbreak of Covid-19, continuing closure of the schools for primary students across cities, increased  screen time, not going out to play and lack of activities have made children anxious and stressed. According to reports, anxiety and depression levels have skyrocketed in youth. It’s a herculean task for parents to keep their restless and enthusiastic kids, confined within four walls, busy. Komal, who has around two and a half decades of experience in the education sector, suggests effective ways to take care of your child’s mental and physical health.

1. First, parents must take care of their mental well-being

Mental health is integral to living a healthy, balanced life, but if parents are stressed themselves there’s not much they can do for their children. Once you are in a happy state of mind, positive energy gets transferred to others around you, including children. Any form of meditation is a great way to calm your nerves. Children are like ‘little monkeys’ they copy the movements of others and love to learn new things. As a result, sooner or later, they will follow suit. Of course, the duration of their sittings might be shorter, but it will be effective. Remember, values are caught, not taught.

Komal Nathani, Headmistress, Apeejay Rhythms Kinderworld, GK-2, New Delhi

2. Encourage the joy of giving in your child

Parents must teach their kids the joy of sharing. It brings you so much happiness and self-satisfaction when you put a smile on someone’s face by giving them something they might have needed, loved or enjoyed greatly. Giving without expectation encourages empathy, inclusion and compassion in children which ultimately leads to mental well-being. Parents can encourage children to give their toys, not the broken ones, to a nearby orphanage or celebrate their birthdays with underprivileged kids. Of course, it doesn’t mean you don’t celebrate your child’s birthdays with their friends, but this is something extra you can do. Parents can also encourage their children to celebrate the birthdays of their house helps and others who support us.

3. Keep them busy with chores and activities

When the online classes wrap up, have a plan to engage kids in other ways. For example, on Independence Day, we asked the kids from our school to make tricolour sandwiches. Similarly, parents can motivate their children to get involved in chores. You can ask them to peel the potatoes or peas, teach them how to fold the handkerchief or other piece of cloth, how to polish shoes, tie shoelaces, and rinse drinking glasses. Children love doing such activities. You can even do yoga sessions with your little ones. You must also inculcate reading habits in children. In fact, it’s a practice in our school to gift books to students on their birthdays. To sum it up, enjoy every moment with your child. You will not get such moments till you become grandparents.

4. Music and movement therapy

From birth to age five, a child’s brain develops more rapidly than at any other time in life. When children participate in music and movement activities it results in their social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. Children enjoy wiggling, bouncing, tapping, clapping and moving to the beats. By engaging children in musical activities, they start to develop their language skills too. Children’s songs are effective in expanding your child’s vocabulary.

5. Create a schedule

Having a robust routine is as important for adults as it is for children. Set up a schedule for online classes, playtime or recreational activities such as board games, drawing, music etc. Also, have a special ‘clean up’ time for children and get them to do it willingly, even if you have a house help.

Dheeraj Sharma is Asst. Editor (Newsroom). He covers events, webinars, conducts interviews and brings you exciting news snippets. He has over 10 years' of experience in prominent media organizations. He takes pleasure in the small things in life and believes a healthy work-life balance is key to happiness. You can reach him at [email protected]

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