Are you looking for simple ways to support a child’s mental health?
Social and emotional learning is key to my heart and is at the base of all the books I write and the therpy I provide.
I am a huge believer in introducing this both into the classroom and in to the family and feel we should approach our children’s emotional wellbeing in JUST the same way we approach their physical wellbeing giving it daily attention.
Resources that can help
Check out this wonderful SEL page at Learning Resources to find a brilliant range of toys and other resources to support a child who in their emotional and social development. They have fidget toys and reward charts. they have games to teach children about feelings, emoji cubes and conversation prompting dice.
They also have an SEL blog stuffed full of brilliant advice to help you on this journey of learning ways to support a child’s mental health. This includes a craft for your child to make including an emotions snowman designed by my great pal Maggy at Red Ted Art . Keeping it fun and interactive takes the heaviness out of emotional and social education and makes it much easier for kids to access the learning.
I also read this powerful guest blog post from Joanne Hutchinson on how to help your child’s mental wellbeing her top tips are ones that I, as a therapist, would absolutely advocate for. Lets take a look at couple of her tips:
Grounding – helps children connect and be present in the moment. It lets them move from worry and upset to being fully present and connected to their surroundings. I like to get kids to stamp their little feet hard and clap and shout ‘I am here’ several times to really experience that. It is a good way to change mood and helps kids calm down and then of course they can think more clearly and make better decisions.
Routine & Stability
Kids have missed the routine of school so much during lockdown. Children have little power life so knowing what is happening and what is expected over them gives them a much-needed sense of control that stops the being anxious. Visual timetables,, clarity and clear routines really help children feel more stable.
Good diet and exercise
Healthy food and fresh air, movement and nature are all scientifically proven to make kids ( and their grown up) feel good. Daylight boosts vitamin D which in turn boost mood as well as immunity to illness. There is a lot to love about feeding kids well and getting them outside.
My own top tip now.
Kids need your time and attention in order to open up to you about how they feel so do create the space and privacy for this to happen regularly. Having snatched conversations here and there will not work. Kids need to know you are focused on and listening to them and that you have the time to really hear them.
And if you have put these in place and your child is still struggling do turn towards you GP or school and ask for help from a service like Place2be.
In her blog post Joanne also shares some info on Place2be who are an amazing mental health resource for kids. let me tell you a bit about them here:
Place2Be worked with 700 schools in England, Scotland and Wales in 2020, reaching out to 380,691 children and young people offering training and trained counsellors. Things are definitely looking up in terms of providing in school responses to kids mental health
I hope you have found these simple ways to support a child’s mental health useful.