In recent years, some companies have begun to encourage employees to take vacations, self-care or vacations. Even companies that do not formally specify rest periods may allow employees to use personal rest days, sick leave, or other paid leave for these reasons. (The sad reality is that millions of American workers still haven’t taken sick leave at all.)
Just as adults occasionally need to take a day off to take care of their mental health, so do children, and this concept is gaining more and more attention. In 2018, Utah lawmakers expanded the definition of absenteeism to include both mental illness and physical illness. The following year, the state of Oregon passed a similar law, acknowledging mental or behavioral health issues as valid reasons for dropping out of school. Since then, other states have also adopted similar measures (or proposals) and adopted similar measures.
The past year of the pandemic has been difficult for all of us, but the children have endured it a lot of. They were suddenly thrown into distance learning, isolated from relatives and friends, unable to participate in extracurricular activities, forced to adapt to other major changes, and faced with many uncertainties.
“We have entered a whole year since the pandemic began, and the children are exhausted,”
“Although much of the information about perseverance and perseverance has value, we also need to convey the message that balance and rest are important.”
-Pediatric psychologist Ann-Louise Lockhart
Now the children are facing a new challenge: returning to the classroom after one year at home. Some children may be excited about returning to learning in person, while others may be anxious about going back to school.
They may worry about getting sick from COVID-19, playing or hanging out with them, or how they will catch up with school if they fall behind. Michele Borba, an educational psychologist and author of the forthcoming book “Prosperity: The Surprising Reasons Why Some Children Struggle and Others Shine” Moderating students may worry that they will be selected again.
The point is that children have a lot of things on the plate and should participate in Mental Health Day activities as much as anyone, especially now. Below, the child expert explains why this might be a good idea, how to know if your child needs a day off, and other ways to support them.
Benefits of Mental Health Day
In addition to the obvious benefits of giving your children much-needed rest, parents who allow their children to take care of their mental health are also sending some important messages.
First, it shows that you prioritize self-care, and they should do the same. In a culture that often celebrates work to burnout, reminding your child to slow down is powerful. It shows that you care more about their mental and emotional health than they care about external measures of achievement or other honors.
Lockhart said: “In many families, the message is more work, move on and become strong.” “Although a lot of information about perseverance and perseverance has value, we also need to deliver that message. , That is, balance and rest are very important.”
Sometimes children feel that they need to lie to their parents and say that they are sick to study. However, encouraging your child to participate in Mental Health Day can provide an honest conversation to discuss everything they are struggling with.
In addition, this allows them to develop the habit of regular self-examination, rather than just solving mental health problems once they reach the boiling point.
Cindy T. Graham, a clinical psychologist at the Brighter Hope Health Center, said: “Spending some time on mental health and well-being helps teach children to assess the difficulties they face and solve them accordingly.” “For example, instead of waiting for one People have experienced a full-blown onset of depression, it is important to learn to observe their own early warning signs and take appropriate coping methods.”
Mark your child needs Mental Health Day
Graham said that depending on the child’s personality and temperament, the child’s response to stress may look different. Some children may verbally express that they feel overwhelmed, anxious or sad, and some may be more reserved than usual. Others may show stress through behavior. They may become more stubborn or dependent on you.
One indicator that parents can look for is disinterest or lack of fun in hobbies or activities they once enjoyed. Quitting friends and family is another matter.
Lockhart pointed out: “They are getting more and more alienated from others, more and more isolated from friends, and less and less desire to establish meaningful social relationships.”
You may also observe changes in their usual habits, such as sleeping too much or too little, or increasing or decreasing their appetite.
Their emotional differences may also be a sign that needs attention.
Lockhart said: “You will find more irritability, anger or low tolerance for frustrating or disappointing events.”
Although giving your child a break from school may relieve stress in the short term, it will not help manage mental or emotional health in the long run. If your child is stressed out for a week, that’s one thing. However, if they show the above symptoms within a few weeks or months, parents should consider contacting them with a therapist.
Graham said: “Recurrent symptoms of mental illness should be managed by a licensed clinician so that your child has the greatest opportunity to learn strategies that are suitable for them and their situation.”
How to raise your children on vacation (and beyond)
First, help your child identify the main source of stress, and then jointly propose some healthy coping strategies. Graham made some suggestions, such as keeping a diary, creating a video diary, drawing or writing poems or songs. If they have one, you can also arrange an appointment with their therapist.
Lockhart suggests that if you can, consider taking a vacation and plan outings or activities together, although this is not always possible. Either way, make sure to check with your child during the day to understand how they feel.
Graham said: “Keeping open questions and encouraging your children to speak their thoughts in the “no judgment” area can help increase a sense of security and convey difficult feelings.”
Allow your children to rest, recharge, and release the inner feeling they may feel due to leave. Graham said that reminding them of Mental Health Day is not to reduce their responsibilities. “On the contrary, the fact is just the opposite: taking care of your physical and mental health. “
Borba said that in addition to the occasional day off, it is important for parents to regularly establish time to talk about and tend towards family happiness.
“The daily mental health time set for the family-walking, exercising, reading, deep breathing, playing on the beach, rubbing, listening to calm music-can effectively help children recognize mental health-not just GPA and test scores Very important,” Borba said. “Children can practice stress reduction, coping strategies, and find strategies that work for them, and then use them for the rest of their lives.”