During times of uncertainty and change, it’s more important than ever to look after and support your child’s well-being to ensure that they’re happy and healthy.
Below are just some of the ways that you can create a reassuring, relaxing and caring home environment, which will help to look after your child’s emotional and physical well-being.
1. Talk about their feelings
If your child is feeling at all anxious or upset, it can be really helpful to take a few moments to talk to your child about what is happening.
If they have any questions about what they’ve heard in the news, be honest and answer them in a reassuring way, using simplified explanations and emphasising what is being done to protect them and your family.
At the same time, encourage them to share how they’re feeling, even if they’re not quite sure how to put it into words. Reassure them that it’s perfectly normal to feel a little worried sometimes, and that everyone feels sad from time to time.
If you have younger children, explain that the unpleasant feelings they’re experiencing (such as the ‘butterflies in their stomach’) are also normal. In fact, they’re the body’s way of processing their emotions, and are a sign that they’re on the path to being happy again.
Take a moment to reassure your child that the sadness they’re feeling, and any upsetting news, will pass in time. Reassure them that you’re always there for them and that they can come to you whenever they feel worried or sad. Sharing a smile and a hug also helps too!
2. Encourage their creativity
Creativity is a great outlet for children to express their emotions and – most importantly – have fun! Set aside some time for you and your child to enjoy their favourite creative hobby together, such as baking or drawing.
If you’re after something a little different, why not gather together a selection of paper, paints, glitter, glue, pipe cleaners and other craft items you have around the house? Then, encourage them to create whatever they can think of!
3. Try out a new activity
Ever tried petal pressing? Juggling? Building an explosive volcano in your kitchen?
Trying out a brand new activity is a great way to introduce some excitement at home. Plus, you can even sneak in some learning at the same time!
To get started, check out our blog on fun maths activities you can do at home.
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4. Spend time together
In amongst work, home schooling, walking the dog and braving the supermarket, set aside some time for your family to spend some quality time together.
This could be having a daily catch-up at mealtimes (no phones allowed!) or partaking in activities together, such as a weekend walk in the park. You could even have themed evenings, such as ‘Film Friday’ or ‘Marshmallow-Munching Monday’!
You could also use Skype or other video calling services to connect with family and friends who are further afield. Encourage your child to say hello and share what they’ve been up to.
5. Head outside
A little fresh air can do wonders for restoring some calm and tranquillity in times of uncertainty. Not only can the great outdoor's benefit your child's well-being, it can also help you to relax and recooperate.
Encourage your child to spend some time outside every day, whether it’s a run around the garden or a 10 minute stroll.
If you have a little more time on your hands, why not head to a local green space? You could challenge your child to a run or simply see who can make the longest daisy chain.
6. Create a ‘kind deed feed’
The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 is kindness, and what better way to promote its virtues than by creating your very own ‘kind deed feed’?
Create a tally chart for kind deeds, with your child’s name on one side and a space for tally points on the other. Encourage your whole family to reward them with a tally point every time they perform a kind action, such as helping a sibling with a tricky maths problem or taking out the washing.
At the end of the week, reflect on all of the kind acts they have done. Explain that any action can be kind, no matter how big or small, and that helping others not only does good, but feels good too!
7. Stick to a routine
Finally, having a little structure in your day can help to restore a sense of normality, which can be really comforting for children and increase your child's emotional well-being. Try to do certain activities at the same time each day, such as having breakfast or going to bed.
You could also create a timetable for your home learning, which will help your child to feel calm, collected and ready to learn.
Article by Lucy Hart