Did you know that a child’s mental health is closely related to learning and development?
Did you know that a child’s mental health is closely related to learning and development?
Our world is changing. How many times a week do we hear that? How many times a day might one hear it. Over the years, and even while my own boys were growing up and in school, I started noticing that kids are more and more staying out of school for things I would have never got away with as a child. I can remember my parents were stern believers of being in school and unless we had high fevers or injured we were going to school. There was no room for argument with my parents. It’s just how it was when I was younger. School was important and it came first. And if you actually were sick enough to stay out of school, you stayed in your room all day. If you didn’t go to school you didn’t get to do anything. That meant no sports, no friends, nothing.
I recently read a report regarding the effects of staying out of school has on students. According the report put out by the Robert Woods Johnson foundation (http://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2016/09/the-relationship-between-school-attendance-and-health.html) chronic absenteeism is becoming a major concern. This report defines chronic absenteeism is defined as missing 15 days or more of school. I couldn’t locate where they got all of their data but it does list some very good, and important reasons why your child should be getting that end of the school award for 100% attendance.
What I’m seeing now, and in the past 20 years is for students to be out of school for various reasons. I’m not writing this to start a debate about why parents should be allowed to take their children out of school if they want too. You’re the parent. You do what you feel will benefit your child in the long run. If your school feels that taking the day off to attend a parade to honor school athletes is Okay, then go with it! If you feel that taking a few days off for a much needed vacation to Disney is benefiting your child and family, then again, it’s your decision. You are the parent!
Some of the reasons the report listed that students are chronically out of school:
But, if your child isn’t getting to school because you didn’t feel like getting up in the morning, or you all stayed up too late watching TV the night before, then maybe you might need to read this report.
Feeling stuck trying to get your child to do their homework? Many parents face this nightly problem so don’t feel alone. Sometimes just thinking of those six words “it’s time to do your homework” often cause parents to shutter in anxiety of knowing the struggle of what’s to come.
Let’s face it, for most children, home work isn’t fun. It’s work. ……… “Home WORK”. It’s a chore for not only the child but the parent. Of course in a perfect world the only one doing the “work” will be the child. But let’s face it, we all know the parent has to be the one to set the time, answer questions, and be around to be sure the child does the work. It’s work for parents too. You have things you need to be doing such as fixing dinner, or just relaxing after your own stressful day, and of course your child would much rather be (hopefully) outside playing, hanging out with friends, and just doing anything else.
It can quickly become a power struggle between yourself and your child. Then it becomes a no win situation. You both become frustrated and then what should have taken 30 minutes becomes a 2 hour “hostage” situation.
One thing I know that children need is structure and consistency. Developing a routine is one of the sure fire ways of helping your child feel not only safe and secure, but also helps them develop a sense of mastery as well as helping them develop a positive self esteem. Learning to put time away for important tasks helps them with their own organization skills. A good article to read on the importance of routines can be found here at ahaparenting.
Here are some ways to help your week nights go a little smoother:
Throughout my many years of counseling I have found that, especially over the past 10 years, people are going outside less and less. There are many reasons for this. Look at the modern “conveniences” we now have: shopping in our PJs, conversing with friends and relatives online, endless TV and movies available any time of day, all at our fingertips, and more people now work from home, and many, many other reasons. I couldn’t count the times I’ve worked with a young adult who doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of a “face to face” conversation. “oh! you mean like video chat!”? Hum…………no. But I digress, so I’ll save that soap box for another time.
One of the simplest, and still best ways of helping oneself over come feelings of sadness, and anxiety is to simply…………………..wait for it…………….. GO OUT SIDE! Put down the cell phone, walk away from your screens and go outside.
Now, don’t get me wrong. No, I don’t think that going outside, seeing that great, big, orange, beautiful, ball of energy first thing in the morning is going to completely cure one of all their depression, anxiety and anything else that ails them. But it will help. Studies have proven over and over again that vitamin D is essential for our overall good health. So why is it so hard these days to get off the couch (or away from the computer and phone screens) to walk outside? Especially when it can help in so many ways.
Recently, in the December 2017 edition of Psychology Today I came across an article, once again, describing the benefits of Vitamin D. Go ahead, click the link and read for yourself. It’s called the SUNSHINE VITAMIN.
Benefits of the Sunshine Vitamin include:
Sure, you can get some of the benefits of the vitamin in a pill form. But combine the benefits of Vitamin D with a change of scenery (from inside to outside), and fresh air, the possibility of helping yourself overcome some of the stresses in your life just increased.
I know for myself, the feeling of the warm sun on my face or arms is a wonderful feeling. It helps change my mood from negative to positive.
And it’s free! Yes free. Will your problems be magically gone during your time outside, or when you return to your “safe place” inside your home or office? No. But your mind now has something new to focus on which is another benefit of stepping outside, away from the computer, the phone screen, the TV screen, or anything else you are normally concentrating on.
A great activity to help children learn to cope with their anxieties
Already there are numerous studies out supporting the benefits of online counseling. Online counseling refers to counseling services through the internet and can include emails, chat rooms and web cameras. This type of counselling goes by so many names such as cyberspace counselling, e-therapy, e-counselling and tele-counselling. Online counseling isn’t for everyone though. There are a few exceptions to who and what issues will be beneficial or harmful for someone.
Online therapy is growing rapidly. The Internet is not just for chatting with friends and relatives anymore.
The benefits of online counseling:
A little about the disadvantages:
If you are considering online counseling please do your research about the counselor. Are they knowledgeable and skilled in the area of your problems? Remember that online counseling is not for everyone. If you are suicidal please contact crisis text line or 1-800-273-(talk)8255
If you are over the age of 18 and wish to try online counseling with me please click the Better Help link below. I am currently taking new online clients through this site as I have found it to be secure as reasonably possible and a good way of using online counseling. They are currently offering the first week free though this could change at any time.
Sometimes as parents, we don’t always know when our child needs help that as a parent, they may not can give them. Are you a parent who is concerned that it might be time to seek counseling for a child?
Is your child suddenly declining in the school work?
Do you feel your child may be worrying more than other children (anxiety among children is on a steady incline)
Has your child suddenly started refusing to go to school or join in normal activities they once enjoyed?
Have they started having nightmares?
Has your once well behaved child begun to be more aggressive or disobedient?
Does your child seem sad or depressed?
Does it seem like your teen has suddenly “shut down” or started spending more and more time alone, in their room, avoiding the family?
Has there been any major changes in your household such as a divorce, separation, major illness of a loved one or even a death in the family?
Children’s mental health problems can occur just as easily as they can in adults and like adults they are treatable. Some studies have shown that one child in five may have a diagnosable mental health problem which can be helped but nearly two thirds of these children get little to no help and are left to deal with it on their own.
A mental health issue a child is dealing with can disrupt their home and school and often times there is a possible increased risk of school failure, problems with the law, and sometime suicide. It has been reported that children as young as 5 have attempted suicide. Some have succeeded.
While many childhood problems go away in time, if you are concerned about your child and feel that there may be something going on more than “normal childhood” problems, then seek out the advice of your local pediatrician or family doctor or a local mental health professional.
If your in the Andalusia, Alabama area call for a free and confidential consult 334-222-7094