World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day encourages more awareness, education and advocacy against the social stigma and discrimination towards people suffering from mental health issues. Each year the day aims to get people around the world talking about mental health and how to take care of themselves and those around them.
At Banjo HQ we think mental health is SUPER important for both adults and our little ones. To mark World Mental Health Day we thought we’d share some of our tips for taking care of our little one’s mental health and encouraging acceptance of others that might be suffering. Keep reading for free printable resources and an exciting announcement at the end!
1. How to start conversations about mental health with your child
For many years the topic of mental health has been something we’ve dodged or swept under the rug. However, in order for our children (and ourselves) to have good mental health and stop the social stigma, it’s important to have conversations about it. If you’re not sure how to approach the subject of mental health here are some tips you can use:
- Sit on a low chair if you can – so there is less height difference and you will be more approachable.
- For young children drawing, modelling or playing with toys while the conversation is progressing can be helpful.
- Offer empathy and understanding rather than solutions.
- Check your body language so that the child knows you are fully focusing on them.
- Take what they’re saying seriously. Don’t over-react but don’t try to minimise or dismiss what they are saying. Ask open questions to encourage them to talk.
Some questions you can use to get the conversation started are:
- You don’t seem your usual self today. Would you like to talk about anything?
- You look sad/worried today. Do you want to have a chat about it/is there anything I can do to help?
- You said something interesting this morning/after school/last night about how you felt when… How do you feel about it now?
Encouraging conversations about their mental health, feelings and emotions will also help children accept that what they’re feeling or going through is normal and that other people might feel the same way too.
2. Talking about their emotions is important
Talk about emotions with your child, and encourage them to recognise and label their emotions. You can also let your child know that it’s natural to have all sorts of feelings. For example, ‘It looks like you’re really frustrated that your toy won’t work. I can understand that, I also feel like that when…’
3. Practice mindfulness and mental health management exercises
Mindfulness, meditation and other mental health exercises are a great (and potentially fun) way to help kids – and can help you to manage your stress and anxiety levels. We’ve put together a few activities to help your little one improve their mental health:
- World Mental Health Day Printable
- Banjo’s Growth Mindset Tips
- Wellness Activities with Estrella, Wonderpuss & Little Blue
We’ve also dug around the wondrous internet and here are some of our favourites from other sources for even more mindfulness activities:
- Self-soothe box – Young Minds
- Managing Anxiety in children – Young Minds
- Tips on managing your family’s mental health – Anna Freud Foundation
- Mindfulness Activities for Children – Positive Psychology
- Deep Breathing Exercises for Kids – Coping Skills For Kids (and other resources from this website!)
4. Journaling is a great way for kids to understand their feelings
Journaling has been proven to lessen anxiety and stress levels in children and adults after just one month. Plus, it can be a great way to practice writing, drawing and improve their memory too. You don’t need a big fancy journal for your child to do this, even a notebook can work really well and remember to tell them that only they can read what they write in the journal. That way, they’ll feel safe to express themselves and pour out their thoughts.
During the summer Banjo Robinson distributed 20,000 journals to kids throughout the UK. The Cats at Banjo HQ were overwhelmed by the positive feedback we received to this campaign, many parents commenting on how it helped their children to cope with their thoughts and feelings throughout August (and inspired them to keep busy too – thanks to fun ideas and activities included in the journal!). In response to this, we have been squirrelling away behind the scenes to create a jumbo 2022 year-long journal which we will be launching VERY soon- watch this space!
We hope that this helps and remember, if you’re struggling with your mental health, please contact The Samaritans on 116 123. Or, you can contact YoungMinds if you’re a young person by texting YM to 85258. Do not suffer alone.
Love, Banjo HQ x