Children’s Mental Health Week runs from 1-7 February 2021. You can see the official launch here along with lots of free resources.
More than ever, it is essential to focus on our children’s wellbeing and mental health. We are living in a world that is very strange to adults and even more confusing to children. One day they are in school; next, they are learning from home, and they can’t see friends as usual.
Ways Parents and Carers can Support children’s mental wellbeing.
Undoubtedly, the way our parents bring us up makes a massive difference to our life chances. Our parents and carers are among the biggest influences in our lives; they teach us kindness, respect and how to cope with setbacks.
Parenting is the most responsible and important job we can ever do, but we never get any training for it. Children do not come with a manual!
However, we know from the research that the simple things are what are needed. The message is resoundingly that children and young people need love and limits.
Parents can show love in many ways, but it seems the most important ways for a child is time. Children need at least 30 minutes a day where their parent or carer is actively involved. If they get this special time full of encouragement, praise, and genuine interest, then the research shows they end up having a more secure attachment and are more confident in new situations.
Limits mean boundaries. It means not giving in to everything and allowing them to get everything they want. Children need boundaries to develop a healthy mental attitude to life and help them deal with what life will throw at them.
Lockdown has made some aspects more challenging. Parents and children spend more time together, but that time can often be more stressful as they are cooped up inside together. It is more important than ever to have those routines in place that encourage health and wellbeing. One way of ensuring those positive health activities occur is to adopt the PACE approach:
- Physical – get moving, preferably outside, but if not have a dance around the room. Exercise is well known to promote wellbeing by releasing feel-good chemicals like endorphins and helping to eliminate stress.
- Achieve – do something that leads to a sense of achievement. It could be completing homework, helping to make dinner, creating a piece of artwork.
- Connect – talk to friends and family, even if that means online at the moment.
- Enjoy – do something just for fun. It could be reading a book, watching a favourite TV show, listening to some music.
These are difficult times, but there are ways to get through it and thrive mentally. Sometimes, it may go wrong, and that is okay too. Children and Young People also need to know that it is okay sometimes to fail, and the art of not being too harsh on ourselves is another great life lesson!
To help you, we are launching a free mental health in children and young people course.
Sign up here to receive information.