MH4 - How to Maintain Good Mental Health


Ways to Maintain Your Child's Good Mental Health

Support your child in having a balanced lifestyle

  • Having a healthy diet, getting a full night's sleep, being active every day, and having hobbies all lead to good mental health.

Help Your Child to feel appreciated and special

Research has found that one primary factor that helps a child to feel hope and become resilient is to have at least one adult who helps them to feel unique and valued in their life. Some ideas to help your child feel special are:

  • Don’t ignore their problems, no matter how small they seem.

  • Focus on your child’s strengths.

  • Set aside time during the week to spend time with each child alone. Spend this time doing an activity that the child enjoys and can have the chance to show their strengths. It’s important not to be distracted while spending time with the child. For example, by turning off your phone.

Having meaningful connections

  • We all need real connections with people where we feel valued and loved.

  • For children with LDs, it can be hard to make close friends who really know them. Also, a lot of the time people with LDs try to hide their struggle from others, and so they don’t have the support they need. It is important for the child to have people who really know them; their struggles and their strengths. That way when things are hard, the child has people they can safely go to who understand their struggle, who can remind them of their strengths, and can be a helpful support.

Highlight your child’s strengths

  • Due to struggling in school, a child may feel less self-worth overall and carry that outside of school.

  • Find their talent or something they enjoy doing and help them grow that talent. By working to get better at something they like doing, they can learn how to practice, work hard, and not give up in order to reach their goal. Having this approach may help prepare the child for troubles they have with school. o Support their strengths and abilities to help them know they are skilled. You can do this by, attending shows or sports events, or display artwork.

Don’t compare them to siblings

  • Highlighting the strengths of all children in the household is important. As well, make sure not to compare or get annoyed about how your child with a learning disability is doing in school, compared to how their siblings were doing at their age or other kids in their class are doing. Children can sense this, and it can lead to a low self-esteem.

Provide opportunities for them

  • Children gain a sense of success and purpose when they help others. Charity work, or joining in community events are just a couple of ways to do this. Helping others can help boost a child’s self-esteem.

Have realistic goals and hopes for your child

  • Making modest, doable goals will set child up for success, rather than failure. When a child sees they are making progress, they will likely be more driven and continue putting in the extra effort.

Help your child know more about his or her learning disability

  • A person with a learning disability (LD) is just as smart, if not smarter than someone without an LD. Sometimes hearing that a learning disability has nothing to do with how smart a child is can mean something to children. Giving children truthful knowledge and talking about the diagnosis in terms they know provides a sense of control and a feeling that something can be done to help.

Take care of yourself, too

  • It is easy to get caught up in what your child needs, and forget your own needs. If you do not look after yourself, you are more at risk for burning out. It will be harder to create a healthy space to support your child if you are tired, stressed out, or drained of emotions. o How you handle your child’s learning disability directs how they will feel about it as well. If you have the energy to be positive, work hard, and have a sense of humour, your child will most likely model your behaviour and view on the learning disability.

References

Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities. (n.d.). Tips for developing healthy self-esteem in your child. Retrieved 2017-12 from http://www.ldonline.org/article/6151

Ehmke, R. (n.d.). Supporting the emotional needs of kids with learning disabilities. Retrieved 2017-12 from https://childmind.org/article/supporting-the-emotional-needs-of-kids-with-disabilities/

Helpguide.org. (n.d.). Helping children with learning disabilities: Practical parenting tips for home and school. Retrieved 2017-12 from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/autism-learning-disabilities/helping-children-with-learning-disabilities.htm

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