Support for Kids and Teens Mental Health in New York City
This article excerpt is taken from “7 Ways to Support the Mental Health and Focus of your Kids and Teens” by Dr. Nicole Beurkens, PhD.
As parents, we play crucial roles in supporting our children’s mental health and helping them learn to focus. It can be an overwhelming task. There is no one-size-fits-all formula, but there is a lot we can do to support our children’s development, no matter their age or unique nature. With the fast-paced world we live in, it can be challenging to keep up with our kids’ changing needs, shifting social environments, and immense growth. Here are some ways you can help your child build better focus and prioritize their mental health:
1. Encourage good sleep
Sleep is crucial for a child’s mental and physical well-being. Poor sleep can cause mood swings, irritability, lack of focus, and poor academic performance. But a child’s sleep needs changes throughout their adolescence, a lot! Remember when your child was a newborn and their sleep habits changed seemingly daily? Well, it keeps happening. Is your teenager a night owl? That may not just be your teen rebelling against their bedtime, but rather the fact that their circadian rhythm is shifting. As a parent, you can encourage good sleep habits by ensuring that your child avoids screens and stimulation for at least an hour before bed. You can also make sure your child’s sleeping environment is comfortable and free from distractions.
2. Support social connection
Social connection is critical to a child’s mental well-being. As a parent, you can encourage your child to spend time with friends in real life, not just on social media. Encourage them to participate in activities they enjoy, such as sports or clubs, where they can meet new kids and form connections. Learning new things and getting out of their comfort zone is pivotal for the developing brain.
3. Teach mindfulness
Mindfulness is a technique that involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. You can teach your child mindfulness techniques by practicing together, using apps, or taking a mindfulness course. Try taking a walk (without devices) and focusing on the things you see, hear, feel, and smell for a simple mindfulness exercise.
4. Use the Apollo wearable
The Apollo™ wearable is a non-invasive, drug-free device that uses gentle vibrations to help the body and mind relax and is safe for children. The Apollo wearable can help reduce stress, improve focus, and promote better sleep. The Apollo wearable is easy to use and can be worn discreetly throughout the day at home, school, and anywhere else they need support.