This week is Children’s Mental Health Week – and it’s never been more important to help our children look after their emotional wellbeing.
Just ‘B’ is one of the services offered by Saint Michael’s Hospice and our specialist children and young people support workers are sharing some simple self care ideas for you and family during lockdown to encourage good communication around emotional wellbeing.
1: Share your feelings with your children and encourage them to share theirs too.
For example: “It made me feel really frustrated that I have burnt the dinner because I was really looking forward to eating it.”
This will give you a good starting point to explore ways to manage these feelings. If you child says they are feeling lonely, you could talk together about all the different ways to stay in touch with people. Try and help your child come up with ideas of their own and if needed, enable them to carry them through their ideas.
If your child finds it difficult to articulate how they are feeling, try drawing together or even making faces with playdough.
2: Encourage your child to focus on the moment.
If they are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, this is a really simple and effective exercise which can be done inside or outside.
Sit for 5 minutes together, take a few deep breaths and focus on what you can see, hear, feel, smell…
If you are out for a walk, a nice idea is to look for things which reflect the colours of the rainbow.
3: Set aside time for low stress or solo activities.
Even in lockdown it can feel like there are a lot of demands on children in terms of school work – and on parents too!
While creating a routine is really beneficial to get us all through lockdown, do remember to factor in some low stress activities, such as reading, drawing, or just playing by themselves. While you could timetable these in, be guided by your child and be flexible. Everyone needs a chance to unwind in a non-structured way!
4: Be a self-care role model
Practice self-care for yourself – and point out when you are doing it. For example: “Tonight I am going to have a relaxing warm bath with bubbles, because it helps me unwind and feel good.
Or “I feel hungry, shall we make some healthy snacks together?” This way you can encourage your child to identify ways they can care for themselves to boost emotional wellbeing.
It might be feel odd to spell this out but as children learn from copying, it can really help.
5: Listen to different types of music together
talk about how it makes you feel: Energized? Bouncy? Calm? Sad? You could help your child make playlists for different feelings or moods.