Supporting our children's mental health during lockdown and beyond
Last week marked Children’s Mental Health Week, and in a year that has seen the U.K. enter yet another long lockdown, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Gabby Hinsliff wrote a timely and affecting article in last week’s Guardian about the effect that lockdown is having on the mental health of teenagers, but we mustn’t forget that younger children are suffering too.
Awareness is important of course, but as parents, we want to feel like we can make positive steps to protect our children from this brewing crisis, and to lessen the impact it may have in years to come, and so in this blog we have chosen to share 5 ways we can help our children to stay positive and nurture their mental health during lockdown and beyond.
Since the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week was ‘Express Yourself’, we’re focussing our ideas on creative ways to allow children to express themselves.
As we all know, daily exercise is one of the most effective ways of maintaining our mental health, and in schools across the country, doing a daily mile has been part of everyday life for some time now. Why not continue the daily mile at home during lockdown? You could take some music to listen to, or even an audible story/podcast!
Draw Your Feelings
Drawing can be a great way for children to express difficult feelings or to release tension. Place 2 Be have a great session on YouTube which teaches children how to draw their feelings. It’s simple, easy and really, really effective.
Spend Time Together
Spending time as a family is really important to everyone’s mental health. Have a film night together, make some popcorn and bond over how good (or bad!) the film is. Or why not play a board game? Loads of opportunities to talk and laugh together, and release some of that tension!
Have a Dance Party
The expression goes ‘dance like no-one’s watching’ and nobody is better at doing just that than children. Get some turns on in the kitchen and dance your cares away – it is proven to have a positive effect on your mental health! This video from Bafta shows some celebrities like Oti Mabuse talking about how dance helps them to express themselves and their individuality.
Dress to Express!
Why not dress to express yourselves one day? You could express yourselves through the clothes you wear or your hair. It could be as simple as wearing your favourite colour, or choosing a colour that expresses your feelings that day. You could wear clothes that are related to an interest of yours, or raid the dressing up box!
We hope this blog has given you some simple, actionable ideas to help support your child’s mental health both during lockdown and moving forward. If you are struggling with your own or a child’s mental health, do feel free to get in touch and we will help in any way we can!