In today’s fast-paced world, finding balance in our lives can be challenging for both adults and children. The pressures of school, extracurricular activities, and social interactions can take a toll on a child’s mental wellbeing.
Academic pressure negatively affects students’ social, physical, cognitive and physiological health and increases the chances of students developing disorders such as anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation and insomnia. Approximately 47% of Australian students experience academic stress.
As we observe R U OK Day, a day dedicated to promoting mental health awareness with this year’s theme “I’m here to hear”, it’s crucial to focus on listening and helping our children to achieve balance in their lives. An OECD study found that parents who routinely engage with their children by eating a meal together or talking and listening to their children, made a significant positive impact on their reported level of satisfaction with life.
We share five tips to keep your child balanced and promote mental health and wellbeing.
- Establish a consistent routine
For people with busy schedules, daily plans and routines can promote healthy lifestyle habits. The consistency of a routine provides structure and helps your child manage their time effectively whilst feeling in control of their own environment. An effective routine can also help reduce stress, fatigue, and unproductivity, which can lead to quality time for relaxation and better mental health.
Help your child find a healthy balance by creating a daily and weekly routine that includes designated study times, extracurricular activities, downtime, and even sleep. Establishing routines can pose a challenge at first, but once they become ingrained habits, they tend to be effortlessly manageable. If establishing a routine for your child proves difficult, try implementing positive reinforcement.
- Prioritise time management skills
Teach your child valuable time management skills. Help them set goals, prioritise tasks, and use tools like planners or digital calendars to stay organised and on top of deadlines and assessments. Learning how to manage time efficiently can reduce stress and prevent last-minute cramming.
- Promote a healthy study-life balance
Emphasise the importance of balancing schoolwork with leisure activities, hobbies, and relaxation. Encourage your child to explore and participate in extracurricular activities that align with their interests and passions. These activities can provide a well-rounded education, enhance social skills, and offer opportunities for personal growth. However, be mindful not to overschedule them, as balance is key. Equally important, ensure your child gets enough sleep and maintains a balanced diet to support their overall wellbeing.
- Create a healthy study environment
Support your child to develop effective study habits. Ensure they have a quiet, organised, and well-lit space for homework and studying. Does your child have a comfortable chair to study in? Encourage regular breaks to prevent burnout and promote better retention of information. Teach them techniques for staying focused, such as the Pomodoro method.
All of these factors can help reduce mental fatigue, distractions and some of the negative association students may have with studying. By ensuring healthy study habits, your child can become more efficient with their study time, creating more opportunities to do the things they enjoy most.
- Unplug from digital devices
In the digital age, managing screen time is essential. Constant notifications and distractions from social media can reduce a child’s ability to concentrate on tasks like homework and study. Unplugging from phones, computers and screens helps them regain focus and productivity. It also encourages more opportunities for face-to-face interactions with family and friends, creating deeper connections and communication skills.
The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with sleep patterns. With the increasing prevalence of device usage before bedtime, encouraging your child to unplug an hour before bedtime can lead to better sleep quality, which is essential for overall health and school performance. Learn how to stop your child from using their smartphone at night here.
By following these five tips, you can empower your child to navigate the challenges of our modern age while nurturing their productivity and wellbeing. Remember, small changes can lead to significant improvements in your child’s life, and your guidance and support are instrumental in their journey towards a balanced and fulfilling future.
Oakleigh Grammar mirrors the essentials of effective parenting within its pastoral care guidelines. By offering support and guidance, the school strives to empower students and foster their self-confidence and resilience, enabling them to develop into responsible young adults. Our school is an extension of home, where our community is treated like family in a nurturing and consistent environment. To learn more about Oakleigh Grammar, download our prospectus.