Mental Health

82268384_180568709993971_7773296163242901504_nOutdoor activity is the healthiest cure for boredom. The mental health of adults and children in 2020 depends on more face to face time outdoors. This article was originally written by a doctor of psychiatry.  Modified to incorporate God. Statistics do NOT lie:
• 1 in 5 children have mental health problems * (many grow up to be homeless)
• A 43% increase in ADHD was noted
• A 37% increase in adolescent depression was noted
• A 200% increase in the suicide rate in children between 10 and 14 years has been noted.

What is going on and what are we doing wrong? Today’s children ( and adults) are over-stimulated and overloaded with material objects, but they are deprived of what is truly fundamental for a healthy and happy childhood, such as:
• Emotionally available parents ( friends )
• Clearly defined limits (limit of digital connections)
• Responsibility (given tasks to perform)
• Balanced nutrition and good sleep quality
• Movement in the open air (away from electronics)
• Creative play, social interaction, unstructured play opportunities.

Social Media keeps children and adults distracted with :
• Digitally distracted parents (mates)
• Indulgent parents allow children to “rule the world”
• Entitlement to getting things for free without effort.
• Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition
• A sedentary lifestyle
• Over stimulation, instant gratification, the absence of boring moments.

We want our kids to function well as adults. Model healthy choices.

• Teach kids that God designed people to be in relationship with Him and other people. Kids and adults function best with rules. God rules in and out of the house.
• Offer kids balance. Give them what they need, not want. Be firm with your “no”.
• Provide nutritious foods and limit junk food.
• One hour a day outdoors. cycling, walking, fishing, bird / insect watching.
• Enjoy family meals without phones or technology.
• Assign jobs. (fold clothes, sweep floor, hang clothes, set table, feed dog).
• Implement a consistent sleep routine.  Timetables.
• Teach responsibility and independence. Do not overly protect. Mistakes help kids learn
• Expect kids to do homework. Expect kids to pack their own backpack “forgot anything? (5-6 years). Instead of giving them fish, educate them to fish.
• Educate them to wait and delay gratification.
• Allow “boredom”. Life is not a stream of activity. Kids creativity ends when we always provide entertainment. Regularly turn all electronics off.  Let them be still and think.
• Avoid technology during meals, in cars. Use silent moments to socialize.
• Regulate and educate kids to recognize and manage their frustrations and anger.
• Educate them to greet, take turns and share. Teach gratitude. Say please and thank you. Remind them to recognize their errors and apologize. Model this for them.
• Connect emotionally – smile, hug, kiss, tickle, read, play, encourage.

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