Wellbeing is a term we have been hearing a lot lately and the situation we are all experiencing during the current lockdown has probably had an effect on all our mental health.
As parents and carers we are again having to put on many hats as we juggle family life. Some of us have again found ourselves home schooling our children, working from home, caring from vulnerable family members, along with trying to maintain some normality of family life and routine for ourselves and our children. If we are affected by the lockdown how may it be affecting our children? What about their mental health? What does well-being mean for our young children?
The emotional wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows children to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults. If we support children’s mental health we are setting them off to a great start in in life. As parents and carers we are helping improve our child’s wellbeing by making sure that they know they are loved for being the unique and wonderful little person they are. By loving them unconditionally we are helping them make sense of and manage their own emotions and feelings, so that when they are adults, they are able to manage stress and maintain good mental health – no matter what life throws at them.
Try explaining mindfulness to your child like this.
Say “it’s like looking out of the window in the morning to see what the weather’s doing, and to help you know what you need for that day. So, if it’s raining outside, you know you need your coat or an umbrella. So, if you’re feeling stormy or rainy inside, you can ask yourself what you need – maybe you need to be on your own for a bit or need a hug or to sleep or do some exercise.
Being active is good for a child’s physical and emotional well-being.
As family life has changed, we may be finding it very different and sometimes challenging, but if we can find time to get outside, as a family to walk, play, cycle or relax, spending some quality time outdoors can really boost our child’s emotional well-being as well as their physical development.
Just as a child’s body and brain need good nutrition to grow and develop, they also need access to the outdoors and opportunities for them to be active. Children need to spend time with nature and the natural environment, playing outside is fun, exciting, and important for their mental health.
Here are some practical ideas for supporting young children’s wellbeing:
- Playing outside. Research shows that children have a need to be outside, taking opportunities to explore, discover, climb, and run.
- Use emotional language – try this ‘draw how you feel’ activity to start a conversation.
- Stop rushing.
- Being creative – try one of these activities from Place2Be.
- Join in – we have some great Mindfulness and Yoga videos you can do together.
- Find time to talk, just the two of you – ‘Check in’ with them while you’re doing things together, so they get used to talking about their feelings.
- Play together – Play helps them to be curious, learn new things, solve problems, and express feelings without words.
- Be a role-model – Show how you cope with difficult feelings and look after yourself.
Keep to a routine
You may have found your usual routines being disrupted, however, it is still important for us all to keep to some sort of daily and family routine. Having a daily routine helps us and our family stay healthy and emotionally resilient. Routine is especially important for children to give their day some structure, being without their normal routine can be unsettling for them. Your new family routine can be very simple get your children to help make one, things like allowing them to choose the activity when you have family time or what time you read a story together. Keeping it simple will make it easy for all the family to follow.
You can find lots of helpful and informative information on Children’s Mental Health week at
Visit our Infant and Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing page for links to more blog posts, activity ideas and videos.