Children’s Mental Health Week.
The Duchess of Cambridge launched Childrens mental health week with a video message regarding the subject. The Duchess states she has seen how unresolved emotional problems from childhood are often directly traceable to adult mental health and addiction issues.
Children’s mental health is something that I am passionate about, I had an idyllic childhood loved and supported lots of laughter and friendships but I also suffered at the hands of bullies and this had a huge effect on my emotional wellbeing during my teens. As a parent I am determined to make sure my children grow up emotionally intelligent, with empathy, gratitude and a zest for life.
Issues like bullying, divorce, chaotic lifestyle, adoption, being a looked after child and school related stresses are creating unhappy and anxious children. More than half of Britain’s under 11s now suffer from stress at school and one in five suffers from a stress-related disorder. Teaching the children relaxation techniques like meditation enables them to manage their stress. Relaxation techniques and mindfulness are tools for life that they can practice on a regular basis or dip in and out of as they feel the need.
I created the Calm in the Class programme for children of primary school age to help raise the confidence, communication skills, emotional awareness and self-esteem of our children. Calm in the class is a six week programme delivered into schools to groups of children.
Place2Be and NAHT partnered to complete a clear view of support available for children’s mental health in primary schools. The full report and further information can be viewed on the Place2Be website.
Key findings included
64% of schools do not have access to a school based counsellor.
Almost all primary schools engage with pupils to support their mental health
78% say financial restraints have an impact on the services provided
It is important to support our children’s mental health and their emotional development.
Here are 5 easy tips to help with children’s mental health and well-being.
- Bubbles are a wonderful tool. Cheap as chips from your local shops and they work for all ages. I like that they can be used to play chase and clap for high energy fun. They can also be used to regulate breath. If your child is upset, crying, having a tantrum encourage them to blow some bubbles. Help them to regulate their breath long and steady for large bubbles, short and snappy for lots of bubbles. Long and steady is brilliant for calming and helping to nurture and then when they have calmed down go for lots of bubbles to raise their mood naturally through breath. (they are also a great tool for parents to use the same way for breath regulation)
- Creative Colour. There has been a huge surge in adult colouring books. Why not make it a family event. All choose your own colouring books and lovely pencil crayons and spend time together with maybe some tranquil music on in the background colouring. This is a lovely way to spend an hour or so preferably at the same table together but with no pressure to communicate or interact. I have found that many important family conversations have arisen during colouring time. This particular practice helped when our family had bereavement.
- Guided relaxations and meditations. There are many forms of meditations and lots of resources out there to make use of. Using guided relaxations is an excellent introduction. Checkout my daughters favourite bedtime relaxation here.
- Chalk board. No matter how good it is to talk sometimes our children may not want to share how they are feeling. Hang a chalkboard on their bedroom wall and they can draw an emotion on there at the beginning of the day and before bed to let you know how they are feeling. That way you can instigate a conversation relating to their emotions.
- Give feelings and emotions an identity. If your child is crying or upset. Asking why they are crying. State something along the lines of “you look upset / scared/ worried/overwhelmed / angry/ sad etc etc what has happened to make you feel like that. Let them know it is ok to have feelings. Being angry, upset, hurt, lonely and a whole host of negative feelings are OK we are human we have good and bad days. We have good and bad hours! It is important to show our kids that we are not robots and accepting our feelings and thoughts along with how we process them is a huge step into emotional wellbeing. Sometimes as parents and carers we are often guilty of giving our kids a cuddle and telling them everything is ok now and they should forget about it. However far better to talk them though the feelings explain its completely natural to feel that way and then maybe get the bubbles or the colouring books out to work through it.
During Children’s Mental Health Week I will be posting everyday regarding the subject.
So please come back each day for resources and hints and tips.