How To Support Your Child's Holistic Wellbeing
At their core children are playful and curious natured with an upbeat outlook on the world. They learn through play and exploration and want to understand things as they encounter them.
Due to the stressful nature of life, especially the recent pandemic, children have been restricted and unable to explore freely and this has had an impact. A recent study by Barnardo's found that one in three of the 4000 children surveyed reported an issue with their mental health.
Anna Freud, National Centre for Children and Families, speaks about the importance of early intervention to help youngsters with their mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Fortunately, as well as being curious and playful natured, children are also incredibly resilient.
By providing them with space to express themselves freely, take part in an engaging activity and encouraging them to have fun, you can support your child through whatever they are experiencing in their lives.
So, how can you do it?
Children love getting creative - especially if that involves an element of messiness! Drawing, painting, collages, singing, dancing, model making, baking - there is no end of possibilities.
Introducing creative tasks and therapeutic art activities into your child’s day to day life not only helps them express their thoughts and feelings, it also fosters problem solving skills and solution orientated thinking.
The government’s Development Matters guidance for early years educators places emphasis on young learners taking part in expressive arts and design activities to boost their development, as well as aid wellbeing.
Art activities are wonderful because they invoke a sense of pride. Children can express, explore and create during the making process, and when they have finished they have something solid that can be looked back on as proof of their achievements.
Mindfulness - or being in the present moment - is important for children. Doing daily mindful activities can help self awareness skills and allow them to recognise feelings in the here and now.
Body scans, conscious breathing techniques, thankfulness games and affirmations are all easy ways to quickly help children feel grounded. Learning these at home equips them with a toolkit to implement out of the home and in their day to day life.
Shake it off - getting active
Incorporating movement into your child’s daily activities, especially mindful movement that encourages self awareness and relaxation like yoga, is an awesome way to boost wellbeing.
The NSPCC discusses the importance of explaining why it is helpful to move and to rest, so that youngsters understand the benefits of movement and relaxation for themselves.
Whether it is a face to face class or one of the plethora of online sessions, yoga and mindful movement provide an opportunity for children to explore and play whilst releasing pent up energy.
Yoga is also a beautiful way to improve coordination, balance and aid fine and gross motor skill development.
Be in the room
As parents, ensuring you are present both physically and mentally with your child throughout these activities is a great way to boost their self esteem and lead by example.
If you notice they are struggling with a task you can model positive self-talk for them and help them try again in a different way.
Young Minds charity talks about how important it is for parents to set an example of having a positive attitude when faced with a challenge.
So congratulate them on their efforts, encourage them to keep going and engage as they play and explore.
Bonding and having fun together
As a parent, ensuring your child is healthy and happy is a priority. By supporting them through creative play, art therapy and playful movement they are less likely to feel alone in their experiences, and you have peace of mind knowing you are doing your best for your little one.
Although these are tricky times there are always opportunities for laughter, games and exploration so that your child can connect to themselves and their loved ones in a healthy, beneficial way.
Taking the time now to introduce these beneficial activities is an opportunity to sow the seeds that will flourish in the long term, as your child grows. You can provide them with tools to support their wellbeing now and in later life and help them gain independence, regulate their emotions and express themselves in a calm and healthy way.
These tools can boost self esteem and resilience and encourage positive self talk, whilst offering a time and space for the family to bond and have FUN!