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Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health

Thought for the day

 

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” Dalai Lama

Mental Health Awareness Week 

18th - 24th May 2020

This year the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is Kindness. Being kind to others is very important but you must also be kind to yourself! At this strange and uncertain time, it is especially important for children to talk about their thoughts and feelings and have strategies they can use to feel calm. 

Throughout the week we will be posting on our School Twitter Page so keep your eyes peeled for different teachers suggesting activities and sharing ideas on there! Your class teacher will also be putting activities on their class page and on tapestry for Reception. 

 

To focus on being kind to yourself, have a go at some of these activities!

1) Watch Miss Harries' clip on the Twitter page and make a 'pick me up jar'. Fill it with things you like about yourself and read them when you feel a little bit sad to remind you why you are great!

2) Create a Kindness Tree - can you add an act of kindness everyday?

3) Follow the link below to do some cosmic yoga - a perfect time to relax, stretch and listen to a story.

4) Get out your favourite colouring book or print off a mindfulness colouring page from the internet. Follow the link below and listen to the relaxing music while colouring. Very relaxing!

5) Write down your worries and share with someone. This will make you feel a lot better and they will be able to help!

6) Paper plate spinner - Think of things you do to help you feel happier if you are feeling down (Think of happy things, do some exercise, play with sister etc). Get a paper plate (or paper cut into a circle) and write each thing in a section of the circle and decorate with lots of happy colours and things that make you smile. Get a paper clip and a pencil. Put the paperclip in the middle of the circle and place your pencil in the gap. Spin the paper clip and whatever the paper clip lands on, do to make you feel happier!

 

Some useful links:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

https://www.youtube.com/user/CosmicKidsYoga      (yoga)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBexfwe-9j0     (relaxing music for mindfulness colouring)

 

Mindfulness Activities

 

During this strange time, finding some time for calm and reducing stress is really important. Below are some activities that you and your children can complete. Let us know if you are completing any of the tasks, we would love to hear from you.

 

Make Your Own Mandala

Mandalas have been used for meditation in Eastern Cultures for centuries. Circular in shape and usually containing geometric patterns, they are symbols of the universe in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Their patterns also make them a great mindfulness tool. You can use just about anything to create a Mandala, but it is nice to use items from nature.

Have the children engage in their senses as they work. Notice the weght of a tone in their hands. The smell of a leaf or flower. The texture and colour of other natural objects. It is a lovely way to connect with the earth and the environment around you in a mindful way.

 

What you’ll need:

  • A round base of some sort – paper plate, cardboard or a round placement.

  • A selection of natural items – shells, pebbles, flowers, stones and leaves. You could also use wool or thread and some lollipop sticks to create the lines of your mandala.

 

What to do:

Gather your supplies together and get creative! Mandalas are typically symmetrical, with a repetitive pattern or sequence of some sort. But of course, this is not vital to this particular exercise. Encourage the children not to think whether their mandalas look ‘good’ or ‘right’ and just focus on the process of creating and being aware as the work. I have included some examples below.

 

Happiness Jar

What you need:

  • A jar of any shape or size. If you plan on taking your happiness jar seriously, I recommend decorating a jar so that you love it.
  • Some scraps of paper. You might like to get some beautiful paper especially for your jar. I use different coloured pieces of paper.

 

As a family, or children can do this individually if they want their own jar, decorate an empty jar. Think about colours, animals, things in nature that make you happy.

Using the scrap pieces of paper, write down some happy memories that you have created together as a family. You may also want to include favourite songs, films or stories you have read.

You do not need to fill the jar completely straight away, as and when you remember a happy memory, write it down and add it to the jar.

Each day, someone pulls a memory from the jar and shares it with everyone. This can be a really positive start to the day.

Alternatives:

You could fill the jar with positive quotes or with your favourite people – real or fictional – and say what you like about them.

 

“What’s in the Box?”

This exercise teaches children to notice and understand their feelings.

1. Fill an empty cereal box with something unexpected like buttons, paper clips, coins or colouring pens. Ask your kids what they think is inside. Take all their suggestions and be encouraging, really get their imaginations going.

2. Then focus on their emotions. How do they feel about not knowing what’s inside? Are they curious? Excited? Frustrated? It doesn’t matter what they feel, only that they mindfully acknowledge what those feelings are.

3, Now tell them that you’re going to empty the box. How do they feel now? Even more excited? Worried? Relieved? Again, spend some time getting them to think about and communicate their emotions.

4. Tip everything out. What’s their reaction? Surprise? Disappointment? Where did the excitement go? Has it gone away? Spend some time talking about how the activity made them feel.

 

Have a look at these websites which have lots great mindfulness exercises.

Mindfulness Exercises

http://www.freemindfulness.org/download

Cosmic Kids

https://www.cosmickids.com/

Useful Links

Below are links to websites that have videos, activities and support for children who may be feeling anxious or worried about  COVID 19. 

https://www.childline.org.uk/toolbox/

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/childrens-mental-health/depression-anxiety-mental-health/

Coronavirus - An information book for children

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