This week is Children’s Mental Health Week. With all the craziness of the past year, I think this years acknowledgment of it is even more important than ever!
Children, like adults, have had a year of not knowing when normality will resume, being teased with a little normality – for it to be taken away because it made things worse. Everyone is dealing with all of it differently, but for children it’s that little bit more difficult to understand it all.
We thought we would share with you a few things that we have done recently, that has helped us as we have taken the time to reflect on our Mental Health.
We found this poster that is really good for ways to nature a child’s mental health. It gives great suggestions. Some of which we will be focusing more on this week.
Listening and Respecting
We have been working on this for a while now, especially with Freckled Faces 2 and 3. Sometimes they’re best, other times they are enemies and bring the whole family down in their war. We have encouraged them to take a DEEP BREATHE, take it in turns to tell eachother how the other one is making them feel. Now, sometimes this works GREAT….other times not so much! But that’s ok! We are all trying our best, and that’s how IMPROVEMENTS are made!
It is so important to teach children about different emotions/feelings. They will feel them, but they might not recognise them or know how to explain them. It’s often helpful to give an experience they have been through to help them understand an emotion. For example, remember when you went on a plane for the first time, or first day of school, or friend came to visit, etc. If they are able to relate to it, it will mean more and they will understand better. Also, the younger you teach them about emotions, the better! Here is an activity that Freckled Face 4 was given for home learning today. She even went one step further that was asked of her, and decided to colour code the emotions!
Freckled Face 3 pulled us up on this recently. Things have got a little more stressful since going back to work full-time and the man of the house taking on a new role at work. We kind of lost our quality family time for a while. Thanks to the kids letting us know that they were missing it, we got straight to sorting it out. Movies nights, story time, talent shows, games, walks, etc. It really does make a difference!
Calming and Positive Influence
Now this one has 2 meanings. Firstly, when dealing with any problems or heated situations that may arise – we need to stay calm, we need to remember that children often learn from the behaviour they see. As hard as it may be, we NEED to try! I have failed many times at this, but that’s ok. My children have seen me fail, recognise my failings, apologise to who I needed to apologise to, and then try again to do the right thing.
Lastly, help them find a calming influence for them, for those moments of frustration and anger, or even sadness or hyperness/excitement. It could be calming music, reading a book, colouring…whatever works for them. It is so important that children learn to regulate their emotions.
These are just a few things that help us. Are there any suggestions you have, activities you do to help you and your children?