Top tips to look after children’s mental health during Covid-19
Many families are now adapting to their new normal routines of staying home with the majority of parents working from home and most children no longer attending nursery or school. Moreover, time outside of the house has been significantly reduced to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.
During this time of uncertainty, and when things feel as if they are out of our control, children and even parents may feel worried, anxious or fearful of the situation they are currently in.
After all, children’s routines have been disrupted, they are no longer allowed to go to school or nursery, they’re not allowed outside to go to the park or even meet us with their friends for playdates.
In addition to this, once children do return to school or nursery, their routine may have changed, with perhaps a new teacher, classroom and classmates.
This isn’t a usual school holiday where children can go to one another’s houses, attend their friend’s birthday parties, play outside and visit family members and children will know that and will be missing their friends, families and teachers - impacting their mental health.
With all this in mind during this uncertain time, we’ve suggested a few ways you can look after your children’s mental health:
1. Keep a routine in place
During the school term, children have routines where they go to school at the start of the day, have free time and play time at certain times in the day and they go home at the end of the school day.
With children off school and many parents at home or working from home, this routine has now changed, which can cause stress and uncertainty for families.
To help children feel more secure and benefit their mental health, put a little bit of structure into the day, keeping some familiar routines in place such as getting up and going to bed at a regular time.
This routine doesn’t have to be as detailed or mimic what a school day routine would look like, only provide children with a little bit of structure to their day.
If you want to provide children with activities or topics at certain times of the day, enable them to choose what they would like to do out of a number of activities to provide them with a little bit of control over what they do with their day.
This enables them to feel more secure with a routine as well as if they are in control over some things during this uncontrollable situation.
2. Keep active and try to go outside for exercise
Keeping active is key to looking after both your children’s and your own mental health, which is why you should try to get outside and get physical active each and every day.
There are plenty of benefits to getting outdoors and playing as it truly benefits children’s mental health. In the great outdoors, children feel free while stress and anxiety are relived.
Try to schedule some time for outdoor play and exercise into your daily routine. Simply go for a walk, bike or scooter ride around the block or let children in the garden to run, kick a football around or play and explore what mini beasts they can find.
Of course, this isn’t an option for everyone. In that case, schedule some indoor exercise time where children exercise, participate in yoga and stretching activities following one of the many videos currently available, or even challenge them to make up their own exercise routine for you to do as a family!
Getting physically active, running, jumping, dancing, walking riding a bike or scooter, sitting in the sun and playing is perfect for improving children’s mental health.
3. Provide a creative outlet
It’s proven that tapping into your creative side can improve mental wellbeing. It increases happiness, boosts the immune system and relieves feelings of stress and anxiety, which is why it is important to provide a creative outlet for your children at this time.
This could be anything from participating in Mindfulness Colouring and drawing to dancing and singing.
You could even provide children with old boxes or scrap paper and paint or colouring pencils and task them with creating a junk model, transforming their materials into a huge monster. Anything laying around the house can be used for this!
Encourage children to let their imaginations run wild as they pick up pencils, felt tips, paint and different materials to craft their magnificent sculpture. As children participate in a fabulously fun, creative activity, tension, stress and anxiety are worked away.
During this pandemic, it is so important to look after children’s mental health and ensure they are coping with the situation as best as possible.
To ensure learning never stops while schools are closed, we've set up a wonderful group to enable parents, careers and teachers to share amazing home learning activities. You can join the fantastic Pentagon Parent Facebook Group here.
Please stay safe during these unprecedented times and embrace home learning and activities with your children. Download our Mindfulness Colouring Book here.