You might have noticed that recently I have been writing a lot about digital wellness and self-care for kids. This is because I am realizing the importance of this subject especially for kids who are growing up in a tech world.
Over the past few years, the research has moved from suggesting a certain amount of screen time that is acceptable for children towards finding the right balance of screen time at home.
This is because each child’s screen need is very different. Also, each screen activity is not the same. For example, playing Fortnite and learning to code gives a child two completely different learning experiences.
But more than just screen time, I have been reading many articles suggesting the increase in anxiety and depression faced by children.
Screen alone is NOT to be blamed for this but there are many other factor that contributes to anxiety in children.
I grew up in a relatively low-tech world. But even then I faced my own type of anxiety.
Especially towards middle school when raging hormones are mixed with insecurities. I must say that I was a mess.
The difference is that I did not understand what anxiety or depression was at the time. I did not realize how it affected my self-esteem.
No one ever sat me down, asked me about how I felt or even tell me that those feelings can actually be normal.
Hence, I am passionate about mental health awareness and digital wellbeing. My life would have been completely different if I had been able to identify what I was feeling.
Here is some great advice I wished someone told me:
Growing up can be a very confusing period for a child. The process comes with its own challenges and how your child manage those from a young age can have an effect on their future mental health.
Helping your child develop a positive habit from a young age and giving them the tools to build healthy self-esteem is necessary for their future own well being.
Here is some advice I will cultivate and share with my child:
1.Developing a self-care routine to help your child manage challenges.
Your child may struggle with challenges due to previous stress experience or even their current situation.
Taking the time to reflect on those emotions can help your child develop a self-loving attitude towards themselves. Ultimately negating difficulties with their anxiety.
Self-care is about integrating positive habits into their daily routine.
For instance, in our home, we use journaling as a way to reflect on our feelings at the end of a long day.
However, journaling for adults is very different than for kids. We use prompts and queues to get the kids to talk about their emotions.
The Growth Mindset Kit has daily journaling pages which ask children four important questions :
- Top 3 things they loved about their day
- Who was kind to your child?
- Was your child kind to anyone?
- Did anything upset them?
These simple four questions allow us to have an open and healthy conversation with our child and get him to let us know about his feelings during the day.
Rather than asking our child, how school was? We ask him these four questions and he writes it down in his journal. It only takes 5 minutes a day to fill this out the journal.
We print out the daily journaling pages and keep it in an A5 folder and every day before bedtime this has become our routine.
It is also a great way to bond with our child and build a trusting relationship from a young age.
You can check out more about the Growth Mindset Journaling pages.
2. Start a healthy conversation
self-care begins with helping your child talk about their feelings.
Let your child know that is is important to acknowledge when they are struggling with their emotions in order to manage those feelings and be able to keep it away.
Turn conversation time into a bonding experience.
Few times a week sit with your child to talk about their feelings.
Again, we do this on a regular basis through journaling. We just find this the easiest and quickest way to get our kid to open up with us.
We also sometimes make it more fun by drawing an anxiety tree and using the right words to let those feelings go.
The Growth Mindset Kit has anxiety sheets and activities you can do with your child.
Sometimes we would do this after dinner and do it together as a family.
Each one of us would talk about what we are worried about and what we would say to those worries so it can go away.
Establishing such exercises as a regular part of your child’s self-care routine gives them the self-awareness of their mental health importance.
3.Support your child’s mental health through community involvement
Beyond healthy conversations and journaling, get your child involved in some community work.
This can be done on a weekly or monthly basis depending on their schedule.
Social groups are is great way to develop a sense of belonging.
It makes a child realise the importance of his existence and the difference he can make in this world.
Go through different community work together with your child and let him choose the activities he wants to be involved with. This way he will be motivated to do it.
At the end of each community service get your child to fill in the “Gratitude” worksheet and the “Giving Back To Others” activity sheet from the Growth Mindset Kit.
The reason you do this with your child is so he can remember that he is a good person and he is loved by other people.
Whenever he is feeling down or isolated get him to read the deeds he has done and how much he is needed by the people around him.
This acts as a reminder to your child that he matters in this world.
4. Give your child some alone time
A healthy life for a child includes being able to be by himself alone and enjoy that moment. This teaches your child balance in life.
For some children, they can struggle from being alone. However, this skill is needed because when they grow up they may face challenges which they need to overcome by themselves.
Set aside certain hour of the week for your child to be in a low-stress situation to balance out over-stimulating screen environment.
This can be done through activities like meditating, yoga or journaling. These type of activities gives your child the chance to ‘reset’ their mind and articulate their feelings.
Related : How to get kid’s growing up in a tech world to meditate
We practice mindful coloring as a method to decompress. Mindful coloring is known to reduce stress, anxiety and can even help increase focus.
You can check the mindful coloring pages designed especially for children below.
4. Work on the now
Besides journaling and meditation, mindfulness can help your child appreciate the time they have now.
Your child can learn to not be fearful about the future but instead to focus their energy on the present.
You can do this by focusing a lot of your conversation with your child about the present moment. This will slowly condition your child to practice mindfulness throughout the day.
5. Love starts at home
As a parent, you can be so in tune with your child’s emotions that witnessing them struggling with mental health can be very disheartening.
Do realize that this is not a permanent situation and there is always help available.
But most importantly believe in your ability to negate future mental health problems in your child by teaching them self love and a growth mindset from a young age.
Don’t spend all your energy trying to ‘treat’ your child. That is the job of their therapist. Instead, create a loving environment in your home.
Place self-care above everything else when building a relationship with your child.
Before you go, check out THE GROWTH MINDSET KIT, aimed at helping children face challenges with confidence.
Inside THE GROWTH MINDSET KIT :
- Daily journaling pages (52 pages)
- Learn to love yourself worksheets (6 pages)
- Learn to be thankful and give back to others worksheets (3 pages)
- Inspirational Quotes (20 pages)
- Inspirational failure stories (6 pages)
- Inspirational coloring pages (10 pages)
- Dealing with anxiety activities and worksheets (9 pages)
- Goal setting and being productive worksheets (7 pages)
- Being mindful, content and discovering gratitude activities (10 pages)
- Travel bucket list and travel journal pages(4 pages)
- Family activities pages (3 pages)
- Encouraging kids to review books activities (5 pages)
- Monthly review activities (4 pages)
139 pages of fun, positive and growth mindset activities