October is officially upon us, nights are getting colder, leaves are turning brown and Halloween decorations are everywhere.
But October isn’t just about pumpkins and witches. 10th October marks World Mental Health Day. This is an important day as it helps the world to remember that mental health shouldn’t have a stigma attached to it and should be discussed openly. The same concept applies to children as well, you should always ensure your children will open up about their mental health especially with the current situation of the world.
To mark World Mental Health day, we have come up with some activities to help enhance your kid’s mental health whilst making it fun for your kids.
Drawing out their emotions
If there is one thing that kids enjoy doing, especially the younger ones, it’s drawing. Make the most of this by getting them to draw pictures of what makes them happy and cheers them up. It may be something as simple as taking the dog out for a walk or watching a film with their parents.
This is a great way to not only decorate your fridge with updated works but is also a reminder of what you can do with them if they are low.
Make a mind map
Mind mapping is a great way to get lots of ideas down on one sheet of paper, so get that big roll of paper you have stored away (we all have one) and let the kids be as creative as they want with this.
Get your kids to think about what makes them feel the entire range of emotions; happy, excited, angry, sad, nervous and how they feel in themselves. Do they have examples which they want to share and how they overcame these negative emotions? Was it through sharing with a friend or family member, a relaxing activity, a quiet moment?
Once they have written or drawn examples talk with them about the differences with how they were feeling. Getting them to recognise the difference between their emotions, what is a positive emotion, and what is a negative emotion. It is important that your child knows the differences and that all emotions and feelings are normal and valid no matter what situation has caused these feelings or thoughts to occur. For those negative feelings, express that they should speak to you if they are feeling that way or if they are unhappy, and ensure they understand that you are always there to provide extra support and help.
Finish the activity on a happy note by getting them to write or draw how they could cheer themselves up when they are unhappy.
Make a zen den
This is a great activity to do with the kids. Find a space in the house where you can make a little den and decorate it with objects that make them happy. Add a bit of colour, but not too bright as the overall goal for this area is to make it somewhere your children can go when they want to calm down or just have a bit of a time out.
Make sure you add some toys or activities they find relaxing such as pencils and paper or books. This links nicely with the drawing exercise as you will already know what cheers them up so you can use that as a foundation.
Create a happy jar
This is a great activity to do with the kids and something they can add to at any time. Get a large empty jar for each of your kids and get them to decorate it however they want; glitter, feather, paint…the sky’s the limit. Once it has dried get them to write down things that make them happy on separate scraps of paper, this could be a happy memory or something they saw which cheered them up. If you have more than one child, get them to each write some for their siblings as well. This could be anything from what they like about their brother or sister or something fun they like doing together. Then get them to put these into the jar.
Make sure you add a few in there as well. Then when one of them are feeling low or unhappy they can reach in and grab one to remind themselves of good times or happy thoughts to help cheer them up. If you have a particularly good day with them at a later stage get them to write the memory down and add it to the jar.
You could also make a “things I am grateful” jar filled with things, events, and people that your kid is grateful for. This is a great reminder for them that there is plenty to be grateful and happy about, even during tough times.
There are lots of other activity ideas out there enhance your children’s mental health and help them identify and recognise their feelings.
But, if you want to make their pictures or the jars more personalised why not look at our selection of fun Bright and Brilliant stickers. There are a wide variety of designs to choose from to make your kid’s presents and creations extra special.