As I’m sure many of you will be aware, this week 1st-7th February is Children’s Mental Health Week. This past year has been incredibly challenging for us all and it’s no different for children. Place2Be is the children’s mental health charity that launched Children’s Mental Health Week in 2015.
This year’s theme is Express Yourself. It focuses on creative ways children and adults can share their feelings, thoughts, and ideas in many different ways through art, music, writing, dance, film, and any other ways they feel they can express themselves. HRH The Duchess of Cambridge is a patron for Place2Be, and she has shared this message ahead of next week. Click here to watch her video message. I believe HRH The Duchess of Cambridge shares an extremely important message that not only is children’s mental health important, our mental health is essential too in order to be the best versions of ourselves whilst looking after the children in our care. Please remember that the team at BAPN is here for you and do please reach out to us if you need someone to talk too.
You can find further information by looking at the Children’s Mental Health Week website. They have lots of free downloadable resources for you to use. It’s definitely worth taking a look.
Here are a few tips from the BAPN team and ideas of what we’re going to be up to next week.
Those of us with older children/charges, please remember that home learning has been challenging for us all. Most children have been spending more time in front of screens than ever. Remember to take time out to get outside or get creative at home and next week is the perfect opportunity to embrace this.
The school my charges attend have introduced Wellbeing Wednesday. Online learning will finish at lunchtime and the school has encouraged us to get out and about if it’s safe to do so or to spend some time getting creative at home. I’m really pleased to see that the school is being pro-active with this. I’m definitely going to take this opportunity to take the children out on a big bike ride whilst the parks will be quieter on a weekday afternoon. It’s really positive to see that the sector are working together to promote the importance of children’s mental health.
Hope jar. The idea behind a hope jar is that every time your child expresses that they are missing out on doing something they enjoy, or they miss seeing someone (family member, friend, etc.) they write it down and pop it into the jar. This jar can be adapted for all ages and little ones may need more help than older children. Once restrictions start to lift, the children can pick out an idea from the jar to do at the weekend with their family. This is a great activity to reinforce to children that life will get better again. They will be able to go out and do all of the activities they used to enjoy. It’s also a helpful activity to create discussions with children and enable them to open up about what they’re missing, how they're feeling, and what they may be struggling with. I think this is a brilliant idea that I will also be doing with my charges and for myself.
Young Minds is another brilliant children’s mental health charity that has some great ideas for helping children currently through this challenging time. They’ve created lots of questions that may help you to encourage your child to open up if they’re struggling.
Another really great mental health charity we came across is Maudsley Charity. They have some wonderful videos on their website that are beneficial for all parents, nannies, and childcare professionals. They are fun and interesting and most of them are narrated by famous faces such as Olivia Coleman. The videos focus on positive tips to help with children who are displaying challenging behaviours and have negative emotions. I think they’re worth a watch. You can watch them all by clicking on this link.
I’m a strong advocate for finding the time for children to spend one on one time with their parents. Quality Time is one of the 5 Love Languages of Children. For those of you who aren’t aware of this book, I think it is an extremely beneficial read. It’s written by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. Quality one on one time means that the child receives undivided attention from their desired adult or adults. This is very important to maintain their positive mental health. As most of you will know I have 3 charges and I really notice how essential it is for each of them to spend quality time with their parents.
Please do get in touch with us and let us know what special activities you’re up to next week or any other general ideas you have to support children’s mental health and positive wellbeing. It’s always great for us to hear what you’re all up too!
BAPN Senior Membership Ambassador