Technology is everywhere in today’s world. From work to school to home, we can hardly complete our daily activities without the help of technology. Though technology is incredibly useful, there are also some negative consequences of all that exposure—especially on our mental health.
We as adults have a hard time being aware and taking care of our mental health (don’t tell me you’ve never pushed yourself a little too hard to meet a deadline), so it’s no wonder that kids have a hard time too. That’s why it’s important you help make sure your children are staying mentally healthy.
If you’re wondering where to start, take a look at some of these tips and mental health activities for kids that you can try in your home:
1. Connect Daily
Mental illnesses thrive in isolation and solitude. If your child isn’t having meaningful connections daily, their mental health might begin to suffer. Take time everyday to connect with your child. This will show them you care and that they can rely on you. These connections aren’t limited to sitting down and talking (although that’s important). Mental health activities for kids can be things like going on a walk, visiting a park, or playing a game. Anything that helps your child relax from the stress of their day and form a deeper connection with you. Be sure you show interest in your child’s life and get to know them better as an individual, not just as your child.
2. Teach Problem-Solving Skills
Though our first instinct as parents is to run and rescue our child from any problem they are facing, sometimes it’s better to help them figure it out on their own. If your child comes to you with a normal, everyday problem (like homework or computer trouble) don’t give them the answer. Instead, sit down with them and help them find resources that might enable them to solve the problem on their own. Obviously you don’t want to do this with every problem—especially serious ones—but the simple issues that your child is capable of figuring out on their own offer the perfect teaching opportunity. As your child learns to solve problems, they will become more self-reliant and self-confident, which positively contributes to their mental health.
3. Explore and Take Healthy Risks
Fear of failure or inability often negatively affects mental health and contributes to unhealthy things like perfectionism. Teach your child to take healthy risks and explore new things even if they might fail. Help them understand that failure is a part of growth and not a reflection on who they are as a person. Support your children in the risks they take, no matter how small they may seem to you. It might be anything from trying out for a play or a sports team to asking out their crush. Whatever it is, encourage them to take the step and explore the possibilities.
4. Share Thoughts and Feelings
Part of connecting with your child is sharing with them. Make it a point to talk with your child daily about how they are, things they are experiencing, or areas they are struggling. And before you go into “Fix-It Felix” mode, make sure you know if your child is looking for advice or just to get some things off their chest. A great way to do this is to share the “highs and lows” of each day as a family or one-on-one with a child. As each of you share the good and bad parts of your day, you will develop stronger relationships, and your children will also begin to understand that they aren’t the only ones who might be going through something hard.
5. Teach Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness might be one of the best mental health activities for kids. Help your child learn how to be mindful of what they are feeling and how to address those feelings. Teach them practices like box breathing that they can use when they are feeling overly stressed or upset. You might encourage them to take time each day to record how they feel and find an activity that helps relieve or ease any negative feelings they might be experiencing. Activities could include talking with a friend or family member, exercising, watching a favorite show, reading a book, or just being still for a moment and focusing on positive thoughts.
As your children continue to grow up in the tech world, they will need to acquire the necessary skills such as self-love to keep mentally and emotionally healthy, so try out some of these mental health activities for kids with your children. For more info on how to teach your children safe and healthy tech skills, take a look at Troomi!