Its Children’s mental health week.
Lockdown has meant that a lot of kids have missed out on lots of things. From the big life events like leaving school, to the little things like seeing their friends every day. This may well have affected their mood.
It can be an overwhelming time for young people. This year’s theme is about expressing yourself. Encouraging young people to find positive ways of expressing themselves and their feelings.
Here’s the Duchess of Cambridge explaining more about Children’s Mental Health week.
With home schooling, no in-person socialising and no after school clubs, it can be difficult for both parents and kids. We want to make sure that parents can keep their kids in a positive mind frame and handle their stress.
Tips for support your children and their mental health in lockdown.
Talk to them, keep the conversations going.
Having a conversation about how they are feeling doesn’t have to be a big serious chat. Here is a guide to starting a conversation with your child about mental health.
Share how you’re feeling and let them know it’s okay to feel many emotions at this time. Remind them that these feelings and this situation will pass. You may not have all the answers, but just listening is the best thing you can do.
Tensions may be high, especially with teenagers. Don’t force your kids to talk if they don’t want to but let them know that if they ever need to talk, you will be there.
Encourage your child to do something positive.
Remind them that they should be taking time to do things they enjoy. Whether it’s watching their favourite film or baking.
Help them keep regular routines.
Routine is key for good mental health and it can be easy to slip out of routine. Try to give them structure to help them feel like life is as normal as possible. Keeping things like a sleep routine is vital.
Do things they enjoy with them.
We won’t get this amount of time with our families again. Whether they want to teach you the latest Tik Tok dance or show you how to play their video games.
Have a family night.
It’s easy for everyone to hide in their bedrooms every night. Try to have an evening once a week to do something together. Whether it’s an at home disco or watching a film.
Limit screen time.
Everyone can agree their screen time has increased. Being online can be great for socialising however spending too much time on things like gaming can be damaging. Click here for support and advice with your child’s gaming. Click here for how to manage your child’s screen time.
Having conversations with younger kids.
It can be difficult to explain everything to younger children. Here is are a list of activities to do with children to help talk explain and talk about these difficult times and feelings.
Make sure they keep in contact
Encourage your kids to stay in touch with friends and family, whether its through text or facetime. For younger kids you can find fun ways to stay in touch, like sending fun things in the post.
Look after yourself
Remind yourself you’re doing the best you can and that you must look after your mental health as well. If you want to read more about looking after your mental health click here.
Home schooling is difficult for parents as well as kids. A lot of our kids thrive from being together in a classroom and without that, they may find it harder. For some extra advice on home schooling click here.
Missing out on school and everything that comes with it can be upsetting for kids. For more advice on helping your child cope with ‘lockdown loss’ click here.
The parents’ toolkit
The parents’ toolkit has been created by BBC bitesize and has tonnes of advice for you.
These resources are for parents of primary, secondary and SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) children.
Whether it’s how to keep your kids active, how to explain the ‘new normal’, how to get your kids in healthier sleep patterns, fun DIY activities or things to do in isolation, everything you need is here.
Where to get help
If you’re concerned about your child’s mental health and think they may need more help, there are many places they can reach out to.
The Mix also provide online and phone counselling and support groups for under 25’s.
YoungMinds have an A-Z support guides for specific mental health issues which may be affecting your child.