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Ways parents can support their child’s mental health during term breaks in schools

Dr. Silpi Sahoo, Chairperson, SAI International Education Group

Shilpi Sahoo

Term breaks in schools provide an opportunity for children to relax and recharge, but they can also bring about challenges to their mental well-being. It is also a time to bond better and understand your child in a much better way.  As a parent, it is crucial to recognize the importance of supporting your child’s mental health during these breaks. By actively engaging in their well-being, you can help them develop resilience, cope with stress, and maintain a positive outlook. Here are some effective ways you can provide the support they need.

Foster Open Communication

Maintaining open lines of communication with your child is vital for understanding their emotions and concerns. During term breaks, set aside dedicated time for meaningful conversations where you actively listen without judgment. To understand your child’s views and opinions better have discussions on topic relevant to their generation. Encourage your child to express their feelings, thoughts, and experiences. By doing so, you create a safe space for them to share their challenges and seek your guidance. Validate their emotions and offer empathy, ensuring they feel understood and supported.

Encourage Physical Activity and Outdoor Sports

Physical activity plays a significant role in promoting mental well-being. Encourage your child to engage in outdoor play and exercise during term breaks. Plan family outings that involve physical activities like hiking, biking, or playing sports. Regular exercise helps release endorphins, which can reduce stress and improve mood. Additionally, spending time in nature has a calming effect and promotes overall well-being. Encouraging outdoor activities during term breaks will not only boost your child’s mental health but also foster family bonding.

Maintain a Balanced Routine

While term breaks offer a break from the structured school routine, it is important to maintain a balanced schedule. Help your child establish a routine that includes a healthy sleep pattern, regular meals, and dedicated time for hobbies, relaxation, and socializing. A consistent routine provides a sense of stability and reduces anxiety. Collaborate with your child to create a schedule that meets their needs and ensures a healthy balance between leisure and productivity. This will help them maintain a sense of structure and prepare for a smooth transition back to school.

Encourage Hobbies and Creative Outlets

Support your child’s exploration of hobbies and creative outlets during term breaks. Engaging in activities they enjoy can foster a sense of accomplishment and boost self-esteem. Encourage them to pursue their interests, whether it’s painting, playing a musical instrument, writing, or any other creative endeavor. Provide necessary resources and encourage their efforts. Participating in hobbies also serves as a healthy distraction from stressors, promotes relaxation, and enhances problem-solving skills. Celebrate their achievements and offer positive reinforcement, creating an environment that nurtures their passions and fosters personal growth.

Promote Self-care and Mindfulness

Teach your child the importance of self-care and mindfulness practices. Encourage them to engage in activities that promote relaxation and self-reflection, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, journaling, or taking quiet time for themselves. Help them identify and manage their emotions effectively. Introduce them to age-appropriate mindfulness apps or guided meditation resources. By incorporating self-care practices into their daily routine, your child can develop skills to manage stress and enhance their overall well-being.

Monitor Screen Time and Digital Activities

During term breaks, children may spend excessive time on screens, which can negatively impact their mental health. Set reasonable limits on screen time and encourage a healthy balance between online and offline activities. Encourage them to engage in activities that promote social interaction, physical activity, and creativity. Consider creating technology-free zones or hours to encourage other forms of engagement. Additionally, monitor your child’s online activities and ensure their digital interactions are positive, safe, and age appropriate.

Mental health is vital for school children as it directly impacts their overall well-being and academic success. It helps them manage stress, cope with challenges, and maintain positive emotional states. When children have good mental health, they are better able to concentrate, engage in learning, and build positive relationships. It fosters resilience, self-esteem, and emotional regulation, enabling them to navigate school and life’s complexities effectively. By prioritizing mental health in school children, we create a nurturing environment that promotes their holistic development, equipping them with essential skills for lifelong well-being and success.

It’s essential to remember that each child is unique, so adapting strategies to suit their individual needs and preferences is crucial. By placing importance on your child’s mental health during term breaks, you are making a long-term investment in their overall well-being and empowering them to thrive academically, emotionally, and socially.

Also Read: Crafting Equitable Assessments: A Guide for the 21st Century Educator

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