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Keeping Mentally Healthy

This week has been rather well-timed with a focus on children’s mental health, and it has been wonderful to shine a spotlight on how we can look after our wellbeing as we end the first month of lockdown. The children are working hard in their lessons, but can often need a nudge to keep mentally healthy, as do we, when we are all spinning so many plates. Our school counsellor stresses the importance of learning to accept and tolerate our more challenging feelings such as sadness, disappointment and frustration. And of course there is much around at the moment to trigger these feelings in both adults and children. We can develop our emotional resilience by learning to “sit with” these emotions and also modelling this resilience to our children when we can. We have to recognise that sometimes it is “ok not to be ok”.

Here are some ideas to try to keep mentally healthy and emotionally resilient:

Keep your children connected with friends by setting up some online meetings. Perhaps think about writing letters or cards to send through the post.

Sometimes doing nothing can be special, as long as you are connected. Snuggle up with a book, watch a film, do a jigsaw or some crafts together. Parents can create the foundations through love, safety and happiness, from which learning can grow. Routines help children hugely with a feeling of security.

How many times do we ask our children the question “Have you had a good day?” or “How was your day? Good?” We often don’t open the door for children to tell us if it wasn’t really a good day, and we risk them bottling up and hiding negative emotions. Try asking instead “What made you feel happy today” and also “What made you feel sad?” or “Were there any tricky times today?” It may be a passport for addressing emotions and finding solutions.

Think about yourself too! You are all doing a fabulous job at home, while trying to juggle your own jobs and other commitments. There are so many ideas on the Internet for looking after your mental health, but we too need a nudge to actually put some of these ideas into practice. So here is that nudge!