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Children's Mental Health week 2021

1 Feb 2021

Most people at one point in their lives will face situations that affect their mental health. The impact the Covid-19 pandemic is having on all of our lives means that many more children will experience some impact on their wellbeing. They have seen their schooling effected, routines disrupted and the social interactions reduced for a lot of the past 12 months.

Break has an amazing team of therapeutic practitioners who have a lot of experience supporting children and young people to make sense of what has happened in their short lives. To mark the start of Children’s Mental Health week (1-7 Feb 2021), they are sharing some tips and activities to help give children’s wellbeing a boost – you may even find them helpful too!

 

Be creative Doing something creative helps stimulate different parts of the brain. It can help focus the mind, and has even been compared to meditation due to its calming effects on the brain and body; reducing anxiety, depression and stress. Get colouring, paint a picture or why not make a model?

Do something sensory Get those senses working! Have some fun with play dough (download our easy homemade recipe here), bake some bread, make some coloured rice or how about a glitter jar? You can even combine a creative and sensory experience by painting how you feel while you listen to music!

Distraction techniques A fun activity can help distract from things troubling the mind. A ‘balancing on body challenge’ is a great distraction task - How many pillows can you balance on your body? Can you walk across the room with a pillow on your head? Telling jokes, having a scavenger hunt – these are all good distraction activities.

Practice mindfulness Mindfulness can help cut out negative thought patterns by purposefully focusing attention on the present minute, and it can help prevent downward spirals of negativity. Take a Mindful Minute.  It’s a good way to practice mindfulness and is an exercise that works well at home but also on walks outside or in the garden.

Relax Most of the suggestions above are great for relaxation. Belly Breathing (see video below) is another mindfulness activity that can help calm children down when they are upset. Try a visualization exercise by asking your child to close their eyes and picture a calm, peaceful place. Then, gently guide them to slowly start to build up a picture of how it looks, smells and feels to be there. Even simple things like spotting shapes in clouds with your child can help melt their worries and relax their minds.

Move around It’s well known that exercise has great benefits not only to physical but for mental health. Going for a walk, a run round the park and there are many videos available online of exercises to do at home. How about combining a walk with drawing outside? It can be a fun way to exercise, get in touch with nature and be creative all at the same time!

Talk about it Like the old saying "a problem shared is a problem halved", talking about burdens with someone you trust can often make a positive difference. For those children that have trouble opening up, they may be more comfortable talking about what’s troubling them if they are doing something relaxing like colouring or chatting whilst on a walk.

Our 'Questions to ask myself when I am worried' worksheet can enable the child break down what is bothering them and can help put things into perspective and learn not to worry about things that are out of their control.

 

There are lots of things you can do to help children with their mental health. You can find our helpful resources in our document library, including a Wellbeing Paper Fortune Reader, a great creative activity with lots of suggestions of things to aid wellbeing. Just filter the drop down tab to 'Children’s Mental Health week' resources.

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