Support for parents and children's mental health.
We know there are lots of adults and children who struggle with their mental health and wellbeing. There are lots of adults and children who have worries, anxiety or stress.
What St. Mary's want you all to know, is that it is ok to be worried. It is ok to be concerned. It is ok to feel anxious.
Life is a marathon not a race so just breathe and take one day at a time.
Below, we have collated a range of resources that you as adults may find helpful, but please also remember that we are always here to help. So please, pick up the phone, write us an email or come in for a chat if there is anything that we can do for you.
Supporting children with stress:
- Below is a link to 'The Brain Break' video which helps children focus attention and regulate emotions. Practiced three times per day, this focused breathing practice gives children a tool to help them to regulate their stress and emotions through regulating their physiology, and activating the attentional regions of the brain.
Encouraging your children to talk about how they are feeling:
- Allowing your children to talk about their feelings is really positive. Try to encourage them to be as honest as possible. Using some of the images below to support their thinking, this will be a really useful way to understand your children and how they are feeling.
Creating a calm and happy home environment:
The link below contains some lovely little sheets that help with a whole range of different things, all aiming to create a calm and happy home environment.
- One of the sheets helps to organise family rules - the dos and the dont's, with appropriate rewards and concequences. These would be a lovely starting point to work on as a family - deciding on what sort of a home environment you want to live in.
- Another of the sheets discusses the importance of choices - choosing to do the right or wrong thing - and helping children (and adults!) to explain how another's choice has made them feel.
- One of the sheets provides a 'Growing up checklist' to help you encourage your children to be more active around the house and help with jobs.
- Living in such close proximity to the rest of our family, it is easy to lose patience with one another and snap. Another of the sheets found by clicking the link below, helps to structure 'Calm down time' if you find your child has lost their cool.
The below booklet is a brilliant resource in helping with:
- How to praise and reward children
- Creating boundaries with children
- How to help children calm down
- How to listen to children
- How to give children choices
Balancing screen time:
Taken from internetmatters.org
As screens become a bigger part of young children’s lives at home and at school, it’s important to put balance and purpose behind screen time to help them develop key skills and benefit from their screen use. This is especially important in the current situation we find ourselves in, as the internet is such a helpful tool in home learning.
Screen time benefits:
• Screen use provides a range of opportunities for creativity and learning – 70% of parents strongly agree that using devices is essential for their child’s development.
• Screens can be a great tool to allow children to maintain relationships with family and friends.
• Screens can help ease the financial burden when looking to entertain children.
• Screens can entertain children and keep them busy / engaged.
Screen time challenges:
• Young children might stumble across inappropriate content that may have a negative impact on their digital wellbeing.
• Long periods of passive screen time could have a physical effect on their development (i.e. eyes, brain), sleep cycle and behaviour.
• Younger children may not understand the concept of what the internet is and how it works so could find it hard to differentiate between what it real and what is fake.
Whilst we are all living in such close proximity to the rest of our family and not getting much time away or space from one another, it is easy to find yourself losing patience with one another and being snappy.
The link below will take you to a document that explains the idea of a 'Kindness chart' - a really quick and easy way to promote kind words within the house:
The link below gives an example of a kindness chart, but feel free to design and make these together. Be creative!
How to get a good night's sleep:
Click the link below for a booklet that guides you in more detail on how to get a good night sleep and the benefits of this:
Thinking about healthy eating and exercise:
Top tips for parents and carers:
Looking after yourselves as adults:
When we are very busy, it can be hard to find a moment for yourself as an adult, and it’s all too easy to put your own needs at the end of the list. If you neglect yourself, you will become exhausted and stressed and then it’s much harder to enjoy family life. You as parents owe it to yourselves to recharge your batteries and your families will benefit too.
Example activities you can do to recharge your own batteries are:
- Read a book
- Listen to music (sing your heart out if you feel like it!)
- Colour in (it really is very relaxing)
- Exercise, join your children with Joe Wicks doing PE on YouTube
- Bake or cook something new
- Have a bubble bath
- Look at photographs of happy times
- Watch a film as a family
- Yoga or Pilates (YouTube videos are great for this)
- Go for a walk locally
- Have a meal as a family
- Skype or FaceTime friends and family that you are not able to see
- Do a family quiz
You could even take up a new hobby such as: knitting, doing jigsaws, cross stitching, painting, learning a new language etc.
Look into popular mindfulness apps such as 'Calm', 'Headspace' and 'Breethe' that have some super tips on how to stay happy and calm.
Some useful websites for helping with your wellbeing:
My wellbeing college is a free NHS service (used by GPs across Bradford, Airedale and Wharfedale) to help people manage everyday problems such as feeling low, having problems sleeping, feeling anxious and experiencing stress. At a time like this, it could be especially useful.
Managing your wellbeing:
Managing low mood:
Helping with anxiety:
Help with sleep problems:
Support with panic attacks:
Support with anxiety and stress during Covid (in Urdu):
Useful resources to help manage your wellbeing:
Breathing activities to help reduce stress / anxiety and support you in feeling calm:
Self-help leaflets including help for anxiety, bereavement, controlling anger and low mood:
Emotional wellbeing support hub:
Guidance for families with babies or young children:
Free meditation to help relieve stress and feelings of being overwhelmed:
Free adult colouring in pages to download and print: