Like adults, children can be proactive in supporting their mental health, however, they often need an adult to guide them to do such activities.
The NHS encourages parents and carers to support the ‘5 ways of wellbeing’ with their children: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. For each of these areas, we have suggested 5 activities that will help support both their mental and physical health:
- Eat meals together as a family
- Play a game
- Encourage play dates with friends
- Talk about how you are feeling
- Reminisce by sharing old photos or memories
- Go for a walk or bike ride outside
- Try children’s yoga
- Dance to your favourite music
- Play an active game e.g. hide and seek or tag
- Join a sports team
- Use your 5 senses: what can you see, hear, smell, taste and feel?
- Go stargazing or cloud watching
- Take time to relax e.g. colouring, watching a film or having a warm bath
- Draw/paint/create an object you can see
- Talk about your day, what happened and how you/others felt
- Cook or bake something new
- Read a book
- Learn a new fact or word each day
- Try a new hobby
- Visit somewhere new
- Go litter picking
- Write a thank you note for someone you are grateful for
- Donate old toys or clothes to a charity shop
- Give someone a hug
- Visit friends or family who may need support or company
If you are worried your child might be struggling with their mental health, you should speak to your GP or a medical professional. Our ‘Ask, Listen, Signpost for Children’ poster also provides some useful information on how to identify if a child is struggling and what to do next.
We also have a poster that is designed to help children identify their emotions. The ‘How Is Your Child Feeling?’ will help younger children better understand what feelings are; enabling you as a parent/carer to have open conversations with them about their mental health and wellbeing.