This year’s Children’s Mental Health Week focuses on finding creative ways for you to express how you are feeling, what you are thinking and any ideas you might have to help others and its not just for kids!
Why is Children’s Mental Health Week important?
With every passing year, information on mental health is increasing and children are becoming more familiar with the words and the understanding that we all have mental health. Schools are finding teaching opportunities for children to develop their understanding that physical and mental health go hand in hand for their development and positive experiences. This year, there has been a lot of talk about mental health and building awareness of the impact our current lives are having on our ability to cope. Our children are having another stint at home schooling or are in school with fewer friends and opportunities to interact with others. Having a week to focus on our children’s mental health is a good way to continue to keep the conversation going and the teaching opportunities flowing; with input from The Duchess of Cambridge, it is bringing the subject to the forefront of everyone’s minds and reminding us that mental health something we all have.
Thinking about this year’s theme, what can we do to promote our child’s and our own mental health needs?
Is there that one piece of music or a song you can listen to hundreds of times and smile every time you hear it or is there that one song that you know every word to and you can sing at the top of your lungs? Music is so powerful and emotive and can really lift your mood. During this week, can you find the song that makes you smile and want to get up and dance to? Sing and dance until you can’t anymore; not only will this benefit your physical wellbeing, it will also do wonders by lifting your mood. Even if it is a quick stint on Just Dance and you have to stop to catch your breath!
Drawing, colouring, painting and (if you are feeling messy) clay can be a really good way of expressing how you are feeling without having to find the words. Take time to think about what you are feeling and see if you can get this across in your artwork. Being in that moment gives you the chance to breathe out and is a great way to bring some mindfulness in to your day.
If you are someone who enjoys writing, see if you can create a short story or a poem to share your thoughts and feelings through the eyes of a character or the reader. Are there interesting ways to convey how you feel? Maybe try shape poems or using words to describe the emotion so the reader has to think about what the writer is feeling.
How can we support younger children with expressing themselves?
Young children can often become frustrated when they can’t find the words to explain their emotions or how they are feeling. Expressing themselves through play and art will allow them the opportunity to open up without the pressure of finding ways to say it. Creative play such as role play or using puppets to tell a story can be a good way to encourage a conversation and stories such as Ruby’s Worry can help them to grasp the concept of mental health and well-being. Younger children have fewer inhibitions and will embrace creativity without a second thought, given some paint and some space, creativity will flow where learning and conversation opportunities can flow.
Being creative is not about being perfect; art and expression is open to interpretation and is as individual as you are. Embrace your creativity and express yourself, you can always clean up the mess later!