Fortunately, we now live in an age where the narrative for mental health and emotional wellbeing is strong. It can be empowering to know that you will be treated kindly for experiencing emotional and mental health problems, instead of being outcast or ridiculed as was the norm.
But while that is true for the adult world, the world for a student can seem a lot different. In fact, even in the sphere of adults, focusing on and improving emotional and mental health still takes a backseat. So we can pretty much imagine what the case might be for kids. Especially if you take into account things like peer pressure and high competition that students have to face these days.
In such cases, having a conversation about emotional health becomes really important. After all, sound mental and emotional health is crucial for overall development of a child, so its importance cannot be negated on any front.
Let us explore the matter further.
Why is emotional health so important for students?
Understanding why emotional health is important for students is the first step towards creating a healthy and supportive environment for them.
The age group of students typically ranges from 4 years to about 21 years at the minimum. If you look closely, the majority of these years are those of immense development and growth. Be it mental, physical or emotional.
As parents (and teachers), it is our job to ensure that children develop holistically, acquiring all the skills and traits they need to assimilate and adapt into the adult world when they grow up. And though feeding them the healthiest food and encouraging them to be physically active is important, often emotional health can end up taking a backseat.
You see emotional and mental well-being has a significant role to play in both a child’s development and health overall. Children who are emotionally healthy are more stable, determined and focus with a greater drive to achieve their goals.
That is not all. Emotional health effects can also be seen in a child’s relationships. For example, if there is constant stress at home, the child may snap easily or display aggressive or aloof behaviour, which can negatively impact their relationship both inside and outside of school.
Emotional health can also affect the way a child deals with stressors and challenges that come their way. Sound mental health can ensure they learn to navigate their way out of challenges in a positive manner, developing the ability to come up with the best solution for a given problem. However, the converse can make them feel bogged down by challenges, leading them to give up easily rather than work their way through it.
Emotionally healthy students also have higher levels of contentment, and are less likely to experience mental health problems later on in life.
As you can see, emotional health effects can be felt in every aspect of a child’s life. Hence, it is extremely important to ensure that students get access to the kind of environment that helps them feel emotionally safe, secure and cared for.
Why do students often suffer from poor emotional health?
Emotional health issues can arise at any age. Children are likely to suffer from poor emotional health for a number of reasons, including their inability to handle situations as well as adults do. Let us take a look at some the factors that can take a toll on a students emotional health:
- Peer pressure
- Toxic relationships
- Family problems
- Poor diet
- Lack of sleep
- Low levels of physical activity
- Highly competitive environment at school
Whether combined or standalone, the above factors can cause immense stress among students, thus adversely impacting their emotional health. The pressure to get good grades, to win that football match or simply to be the coolest kid in class can certainly make students feel overburdened, and even trapped, leading to issues such as depression.
How can we help in improving the emotional health of students?
Luckily, there are emotional health activities that both teachers at schools and parents can practise to ensure that kids get access to a mentally nurturing atmosphere that helps them become the best versions of themselves in every single aspect.
- Provide students with a safe space to speak up
- Promote self-confidence
- Teach them the art of mindfulness
- Ensure they follow a proper diet and exercise routine
- Help them set realistic goals
Often kids suffer in silence, not daring speak up about the emotional and mental issues they face for fear of being made fun of. However, by letting kids know that there will be no negative consequences to them speaking up about their issues can give them the comfort they need to open up. And once they express what their issues are, you can help them find a constructive way to deal with it, thus adding to their emotional maturity as they grow older.
Often kids can go through a phase of self-loathing where they end up feeling that they are not as cool as the other kids in their class. Bullying can be a cause of or an aggravator of this feeling in kids, thus adversely impacting their emotional health. You can try and reverse the effects of this behaviour by celebrating the uniqueness of each kid. Once they realise that their differences are what makes them awesome, their self-esteem will increase.
Activities such as mindfulness and yoga can help students connect with their emotions on a deeper level. This can increase their awareness and understanding of their own emotions, thus offering them an effective way to manage all the feelings they feel without being bogged down by them too much. It can also make them calmer, which can lead to rational decision-making, which in turn, can boost their confidence.
Both lack of physical exercise and improper diet can affect a student’s mood, causing them to act without provocation. Something that can be easily mitigated by ensuring students eat healthy and nutritious foods and get plenty of exercise outdoors. The combined effect of both can tremendously improve their mood, and their emotional health by extension.
The emotional health of a student can take a hit due to unrealistic expectations and goals. Help students realise the importance of realistic goals, which can be achieved with hard work and perseverance. This will help them gain the confidence they need to know they can do anything they set their minds to.
All students need is the right kind of support, encouragement and motivation to grow into individuals they can be proud of. At EuroKids, we leave no stone unturned to create a nurturing atmosphere of support for our preschool students, implementing various practices to ensure their emotional wellbeing. If you would like to know how we achieve that, visit us at any one of our centres.