If your child sees a therapist in Littleton, you are probably well-versed in coping skills, bedtime routines, rewards, and ways to boost emotions. But how much attention are you paying to the everyday physical health of your child? This blog will focus on the importance of a variety of physical health needs and the ways that they may—or may not—affect mental health.
One of the most important questions that child psychologists ask their clients is “does your child sleep well?” If we think of food as fuel for the body, sleep is more like a “reset” for a computer—it gets rid of lags, poor performance, and unexpected errors. When your child has not slept enough, or is not getting good sleep , he is much more likely to struggle to keep up mentally and physically, demonstrate tantrums and bad behavior, and make more mistakes. Even more, sleep is vital for effective learning and consolidation of memories.
Dehydration drains your brain—literally! When your child does not drink enough liquids, she is more likely to feel irritable, struggle to concentrate, and become fatigued (and cranky!) much sooner. This is true for adults as well, but children often need reminders to stay hydrated.
Some studies have shown that just 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise, 5 days a week, is about as effective as most antidepressants. For children, this can be an important, but easily overlooked way to help manage mood and energy levels. If your child would rather chill with a video game than play a game of soccer, try to encourage a variety of fun physical activities to get blood circulating and energy out. Especially for children with ADHD, exercise is an important way to promote healthy activity that boosts concentration and focus.
Now that you’re familiar with some of the basics of physical health, how does your child stack up? Don’t stress too much if your child is not catching enough zzz’s, drinking enough water, or working out, just try to move him or her to a healthier place. For help creating structured routines, building strong self-care skills, and promoting the best achievement in your child in Highlands Ranch, contact Dr. Lazarus today!