An LDS child counselor will tell you that there will be more than one time in the life of your child when you wonder if some alien race with a wicked sense of humor has replaced your sweet, compliant son or daughter with one who is angry, unpredictable, muddled or moody. Though puberty can account for much of the problem behavioral phases that children go through as they grow up, there are a number of other factors that contribute to your child’s new, and often unwelcome, personality quirks. Here are some ways you can help children maintain some emotional and mental stability:
1 – Make Sure They Get Enough Sleep
The value of a good night’s sleep can’t be overstated, for children and adults. Seven to ten hours of sleep per night will make for a rested, healthy mind and body. Do your best to establish and maintain a bedtime, even if you have to resort to subliminal persuasion. If you go to bed early, your child will be more likely to copy your sleep pattern even if you don’t tell them to go to bed. Before bedtime, talk to them about their day and any concerns they might have so that their minds are at ease, which will allow them to fall asleep faster.
2 – Make Sure They Eat Well
A nutrient-rich diet is essential for children to develop optimal brain function. Here again, your choices and actions influence your child as much or more than you words can. When you maintain a healthful diet for yourself that is full of fruits and vegetables and that limits sugary drinks, your child will usually follow suit, especially if you take the time to make (or buy) a healthy dinner every day.
3 – Make Sure They Get Adequate Exercise
Make sure your child gets at least one hour of physical exercise each day, whether he or she is at school or at home. Exercise has the same benefits for children as it does for adults – it increases blood and oxygen flow throughout the body and triggers the release of “happy” hormones like endorphins, dopamine and serotonin.
4 – Make Sure They Learn New Things
Even though your child is learning at school, it’s important that they find and pursue activities outside of school that will stimulate them mentally. Learning new skills like playing an instrument or practicing a sport creates new neural connections in the brain and contributes to overall health. Let your child lead the way when it comes to choosing a new pursuit and be careful to ensure that they don’t try to do too much.
5 – Make Sure They Have Healthy Relationships
An LDS child counselor will tell you that healthy relationships are the foundation of mental and emotional health. Your job, as a parent, is to nurture and support relationships with peers, friends and family by helping your child find ways to interact and connect with others through family activities, team sports, scouting, church groups and more. The relationships your child has with others will shape the way he or she looks at the world for the rest of his life.
Being a parent is a difficult job. If your child is having mental or emotional problems that you or they can’t seem to understand or handle, get help. Call the best LDS child counselor, Jody VanDrimmelen at Insight Child & Family Counseling, at (972) 426-9500. You can also visit www.j9n.83e.myftpupload.com to fill out an online contact form.