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Children's Mental Health Week - Supporting Children's Wellbeing

As parents and carers, we want nothing more than for our children to be happy, healthy, and thriving.

Published: 7 February

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Busy Bees

As life post-pandemic begins to re-emerge, and we begin to slowly return to normality, your children’s wellbeing may be taking up more of your thoughts than normal. The crazy world we’ve lived in for the previous few years will have meant that they have had to adapt quickly to changes in their immediate surroundings, as well as the wider world.

Children’s Mental Health Week begins on Monday 7 February and runs for seven days. The theme of Children’s Mental Health Week 2022 is ‘growing together’ and explores the ways in which children and adults are encouraged to consider how they have grown, and how they can help others to grow.

Growing Together to support Children’s wellbeing

Here at Busy Bees, we believe that a child’s wellbeing is crucial to their happiness, whether that is physical or related to children’s mental health. Our range of wellbeing activities are a fantastic resource, and can be used to help your child with managing strong feelings and emotions, while learning how to stay calm in times of worry.

The theme of ‘growing together’ works perfectly alongside Busy Bees ‘I can bee’ ethos, which encourages children to be anything they want to be. However, children’s mental health is a crucial aspect of them being able to achieve this. We’ve put together some activities to support your children’s wellbeing at home. 

 

Be Calm and Breathe

Emotional growth is a gradual process, challenges and emotions can help us grow, but it’s important to children’s wellbeing that they understand how to cope and manage strong emotions. 

Breathing techniques can support your children’s mental health when they are feeling worried or anxious and can help them to relax. These easy-to-follow breathing activities aim to help children understand how to take deep breaths and calm their emotions.

 

Sleepy Animal Technique

Ask your child to lay down on their back and close their eyes. Place a small stuffed toy on their tummy. Calmly explain that they have to try and rock the animal to sleep with their tummy by breathing in and out. Invite your child to breathe in deeply through their nose and feel the stuffed animal rise up, and then feel it lower as they slowly exhale through their mouth. Ask them to raise their hand when they think their animal is ‘asleep’. 

Smell the Soup, Cool the Soup Technique

Ask your child to imagine they are holding a bowl of steaming, hot soup in front of them. Invite them to close their eyes and smell the soup as they take a deep breath. Now, encourage them to cool the soup as they breathe out a deep breath. You can change this to your child’s favourite foods, for example, custard, spaghetti, or hot chocolate.

 

Be Calm and Positive

Promoting positivity can help your child grow, and exercises that discuss hopes and dreams for the future can support children’s mental health. Encourage your child to understand that how they are feeling right now is a step towards helping them in the future. 

The following Busy Bees ‘Be Calm’ exercises aim to support your child's self-esteem. 

Using Our Senses

Explain to your child that you’re going to use their senses to help calm down, starting by using your eyes.  Using their senses, ask them to list the following things:   

  1. Five things that they can see.
  2. Four things that they can feel.
  3. Three things that they can hear.
  4. Two things they can smell (if they can't smell anything, ask them what their favourite thing is to smell).
  5. Finally, ask them to tell you one thing they can taste. This can be something they can already taste in their mouth such as toothpaste from brushing their teeth or toast from breakfast or they could tell you their favourite thing to eat.

 

Emotion charades (Age 2+)

This children’s mental health activity supports your child’s emotional literacy, and allows you to talk to your child about the concept of worry in a safe and secure space. 

What to do

  1. Play a guessing game with your child around the topic of emotions.
  2. Act out an emotion, for example stomping about with a stern face to indicate ‘angry’ - Can they guess what your emotion is? Can they think of a time that they have felt like that?
  3. Encourage them to have a turn and act out an emotion for you to guess.
  4. Introduce more complex language such as frustration, guilt, or excitement.

 

Feelings bottles (Age 3+)

Every person has a different way of understanding and learning, which encourages us to grow. This mental health activity gives a visual representation of what emotions can feel like, which can help children to make connections and develop their understanding of why they feel the emotions. 

What you will need

  • Clean empty plastic bottle
  • Jug of water
  • Glitter

Safety first Make sure the lid is tight and secure, please do not leave your child unattended with the bottle.

What to do

  1. Ask your child to help you pour some water into the plastic bottle.
  2. Next, ask them to add some glitter. This could be one or more colours. Secure the lid on top of the bottle.
  3. Invite your child to explore shaking the bottle and talk about what happens to the glitter. Explain to your child that what is happening to the glitter looks like what happens to our emotions when we are feeling angry or upset. When we are feeling strong emotions, it feels as if everything is muddled. However, when we are calm, everything becomes more settled. You might wish to add other resources such as oil and food colouring for a different 

 

Incorporating Children’s Wellbeing Exercises into Daily Routine

Incorporating just one activity into your child’s daily routine could significantly help with their mental health and overall understanding of any feelings and emotions in a fun and enjoyable way.

Although Children’s Mental Health Week aims to highlight the importance of children’s wellbeing, it is something here at Busy Bees, we strive to embed into the foundations of our childcare. We hope that the mental health week activities help to support your child in many ways. 

We’d love to see you try our activities at home. Please share on social and don’t forget to tag us on Facebook @busybeesuk and Instagram @busybees_uk #UPatBusyBees. 

If you’re an existing Busy Bees parent, don’t forget to check out UP at Busy Bees – Unleashing Potential for more wellbeing activities.