It is important for children to be emotionally healthy. Here are some parenting tips to raise an emotionally healthy child.

Once children are born, parents make sure their little ones are healthy. They make appointments with doctors to get their children vaccinated against diseases. If parents are not worried about their child’s physical health, they focus on their education and behaviour. Amid all this, many times children’s emotions are not given attention. Emotional health is also important. Emotionally healthy kids have strong social skills, and can cope well with problems in life. Read on to know ways to raise an emotionally healthy child.

What is emotional health?

Emotional health is a person’s ability to be understand, and manage their emotions. The skill to perceive, express, understand, monitor and manage emotions are certain dimensions that may determine a person’s emotional health, says psychiatrist Dr Trideep Choudhury.

A woman playing with her daughter
Emotionally healthy kids have strong social skills. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

A child can be influenced by the emotional state of their primary care giver, who is their mother, from infant stage itself where they see and learn. As their cognitive development happens, they learn different emotions and try to imitate them and express them. So, from an early age, emotional regulation and ways to be emotionally healthy should be taught consciously, says the expert.

Why is it important for a child to be emotionally healthy?

It is important for children to be emotionally healthy because childhood is the phase when different values are developed and the child experiences myriad situations and interact with different people. Being emotionally healthy would help them navigate these situations effectively which would help them to develop different life skills, the expert tells Health Shots. Moreover, being emotionally healthy would help them to develop interpersonal relationships which would help them to lay the foundation of a strong support system for their later part of life. It would also help them to build a huge network of acquaintances from whom they can acquire different life skills too.

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How to raise an emotionally healthy child?

Parents plays a unique role in raising emotionally healthy children. Here’s what you can do –

1. Make you child recognise different types of emotions

There are different types of emotions like anger, annoyance, happiness and sadness. You can teach your child to recognise these emotions as children can already experience these most of the time. Your child may become perplexed when they get overwhelmed with these emotions in real life situations during their formative years. You can reassure your child that feeling them is normal.

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Playful child
Let your child know about different types of emotions. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

2. Become aware

You should become aware when your child goes through various emotions. By being aware of them, you can avoid any negative emotions developing within them, says Dr Choudhury.

3. Don’t react to emotional outburst

You should not react to any emotional outburst from your child. Instead, try to maintain calmness during that time. It will go a long way in helping your child to learn to control their emotions.

4. Teach emotional regulation

You should take such difficult situations as opportunities to teach
emotional regulation to your child. This can be done when your child calms down. They can reflect back on what happened and know about the consequences of these emotional outbursts.

5. Proper communication

Many a times a child’s emotional expression may be a maladaptive way of expressing their needs, says the expert. You can teach your child to express the needs in alternative ways by properly communicating with eye contact and adequate verbalisations with the right words.

6. Be a role model

Modelling is one of the ways to teach emotional regulation to your child. Children often imitate their parents’ emotional expression to different situations.

7. Praise your child for good behaviour

Reinforcement of good behaviour by praise, and discouraging undesired behaviour are important. They would help your child in the process of emotional regulation.

8. Create a safe space

You should concentrate on creating a safe space when your child gets emotionally distressed. It will help them during that time.

9. Teach breathing exercises

Different handy techniques of controlling overwhelming emotions like deep breathing exercises can be taught to your child. You can supervise when they practise them in real life situations.

10. Develop empathy

Give importance of developing empathy in your child. This way they can gauge the emotional state of others and behave accordingly with them. This can help them become emotionally healthy.

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