Child Mental Health Week 2019
As we come to the end of Child Mental Health Week we wanted to give a shout out to the charity Place2Be for the great work they’ve done in raising awareness, as well as giving practical advice, around this issue. It is something we care very much about and increasingly so as we see our little wildlings and their friends going through some of the more complicated parts of growing up.
A stat from the charity that really stood out was that 56% of kids say they worry about something all the time. Our eldest two in particular can be prone to worries so we are often thinking (and probably worrying) about how we can help them navigate through these. Whilst we have by no means got this nailed and are learning every day, as are they, we wanted to share the things that we find help them, as well as some of the new tips we’ve picked up this week:
- Sleep - their emotions are so much harder for them to manage when they are tired, so as much as we do let the bedtime routine slip from time to time, we always try to make sure they refuel their sleep reserves soon after
- Schedule in downtime - with the busy-ness of school and the various clubs that can follow after it feels really important for them to have some downtime, in the same way we need ours. Whether that be doing an activity they love to get absorbed in, having a pyjama morning or as their very best treat, watching a film together, hence new family traditions of ‘Friday Film Night’ in both our households
- Chat, snack and sup - we know that bombarding them with questions about their day isn’t going to help, but once we’re home a chat over a drink (in our case a family cuppa!) and snack is often when they will open up. This also has the added benefit of ensuring they are hydrated and refuelled as hunger and dehydration have been shown to have a big impact on mood
- Get them to work through worries themselves - deep down they can often work through a concern themselves, which is often realising that it isn’t something they need to worry too much about! Helping them get to this conclusion themselves can reassure them more
- Getting out and about - a great dose of fresh air and nature is unbeatable for both body and mind. Whilst weekends can end up packed full of social activities and endless birthday parties, we are being mindful of making time for simple, regular activities we can do, like going for a family stroll
- When in doubt dance it out - a kitchen dance when we all need to let off steam is soo good for the soul
Place2Be also has some other great tips that we learnt this week and are going to use:
- Sharing the steps you’ve taken to look after your mind can set a good example for them – and don’t be afraid to admit it if you’ve struggled
- Praise your child and other family members for what they do to look after their body and mind – even if it’s small.
- Remind them that there’s no such thing as a perfect body or mind – and no one is perfectly healthy
You can find lots more advice and information at https://www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk. We’d also love to hear how you help your small people navigate through their worries.