There are indeed many benefits to homeschooling your kids. Smaller student-teacher ratio, individualized learning and pacing, and a safe learning environment are some of the reasons parents love it. And a secure and safe place for learning does keep your child more mentally and emotionally healthy. But even at home, there are still risks for them to develop mental health problems.
Anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders are common mental health issues that may affect your homeschoolers. And here are ways you can do to help your child deal with these conditions.
The first thing you can do in dealing with mental health issues as a parent is to educate yourself about it. Misconceptions and misinformation may make it more difficult for you to help your children deal with their problems.
Take note that educating yourself does not mean that you are taking an expert’s role in their situation. Your child is experiencing a challenging period in their life. They may feel isolated, so knowing these feelings will help you become more compassionate to them. They will need your presence now more than ever, especially since you are the nearest friend and support they have while homeschooling.
It is more challenging to recognize the symptoms of common mental health issues in your children. Primarily because they can be easily confused with puberty and growing up, so it is necessary to extend your patience when you notice that they are frequently moody, irritable, or when they detach themselves from the rest of the family.
Anxiety in children is often a result of several stressful events like exams, bullying, death of a relative or friend, or parents’ fighting. Yes, bullying may still happen at home through the internet. Several platforms – like games and social media-allow your kids to express themselves freely, putting them at risk of cyberbullying.
And so, if you notice the symptoms of anxiety in your kids, guide them through it. When doing their schoolwork, do not pressure them. Wait for them to calm down enough and help them through difficult tasks. It will help reduce their anxiety and help them relax as well.
Spend Time Together
Some children find it hard to tell their parents about their feelings and emotions. Most find it awkward to do so, especially those nearing puberty. And as parents, you must respect their privacy. But suppose you have noticed that they’re having trouble concentrating on their academic work or other activities and are showing persistent sadness for more than two weeks. In that case, they are likely going through some serious problems like depression.
Depression is a common mental health problem in children. Statistics show that about five percent of children between 13 and 18 may have experienced this condition. When you noticed the signs, do not force your child to talk to you about it. Instead, find ways to spend time with them.
Trying out new activities like crafting or exercising can help release happy hormones in your child. Do note that this is not a cure, but it can help them express their feelings in better ways.
Create A Schedule
Study shows that people with an active daytime routine have better sleeping habits and mental health. So it is essential to establish a daily routine for your homeschoolers. Find a balance between work, playtime, rest, and sleep to minimize the risk of developing or worsening their mental health problems.
Too much time spent studying may leave your child feeling stressed and overworked. Over time, it can lead to anxiety, social isolation, and depression. And so remember to include breaks between studying. The frequency and duration of rest time may differ from children to children. What you can do is to plot their schedules with them. Let them give their inputs and suggestions and make them feel involved.
Bedtimes are essential for their routine too. Having too much or less sleep is often linked to mental health problems. So you must have a sleeping routine that everyone at home follows, including the parents. Modeling the desired behavior will help your children remember to stick to the practice. Bedtime also means no phone or gadgets time, so tuck away these devices as well.
Seek Professional Help
Mental health conditions affect attention, concentration, eating, and sleep. So before their condition worsens, seek professional help. Mental health professionals will help your child deal with their problems through psychotherapy or medication. Your child’s doctors will talk to you about the risk and side effects of the drug treatments. You need to know about them so that you will understand how to deal with those as well.
You may also consult with a family counselor to help the whole family cope. They will help your family understand the condition and one another better, bringing your family closer as well.
Mental health conditions may affect anyone, even in the comforts and safety of their home. So it is essential to know about the symptoms of these problems and how to deal with them. Learning how to deal with them can help you give the proper support to your children.