Protecting your Child’s Mental Health

🔴Take care of you: You can’t pour from an empty cup. If you are dealing with serious mental health issues it will affect those close to you. So for your sake and theirs pls take care of yourself and get the help you need. Ensure that you are in a good place before you can be there for those you love.
🟠Provide structure and boundaries: Bed time , meal times try to ensure your children have structure and be consistent. Consistency may be tough for many but just try. Also give boundaries as this helps create mental security as well.
🟡 Encourage social connections: Cousin hang outs, play dates with friends, visits to Grandma etc. Encourage your child to form healthy connections. The world is getting more insular but we must not forget to bond with those we love and teach the children to do same.
🟢Don’t over praise: “ You must be the smartest boy in the whole world”. Yes our children are amazing and we must affirm them but as they grow “Biko nwelu nwayo” i.e easy on the praise. We want confidant and affirmed children, not people who think the whole world revolves around them and buckle at the smallest challenge.
🔵 Change management. This is important for children as huge changes like moving to a new country, parents divorcing, loss of a parent, changing schools etc can cause emotional trauma. So please be mindful and help them manage such situations. Talk to them about such changes and be in tune with their feelings, where necessary enlist the help of a professional. 
🟣 Play with them: Gist, dance, run in the rain. Play with your child. According to verywell.com Studies also have shown that engaging in healthy play can increase a child’s odds of being happy and reduce  their risk of depression and anxiety. It also helps you bond. 
🟤 Get help: If you notice red flags please don’t ignore them. Don’t panic or call your entire extended family into it, rather find someone who can actually help. While we may have a dearth or therapists they do exist so ask within your parenting village and get help. If the school has a good counsellor that may be a good place to start.
⚫️ Communicate and Connect : It’s important that our children feel safe with us so they can be open. When they can share their issues with you and know you can help then it will solve a  whole lot
 Pray with them: Teach them to pray. With God’s help let’s ensure the home is a place free of trauma and other mental health triggers. Share your best tips below.
Chiomah 

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