Ideas to support Children’s Mental Health Week
We think children’s mental health is important all year round, 24/7.
But this awareness week in the UK (6th to 12th February) helps us to create or develop the conversation about:
- why mental health is so important for young people
- and simple steps we can take to support positive mental health for children and teens.
The awareness week is run by the charity Place2Be – which does some fantastic work and offers some good resources.
What’s interesting is that the theme for this year is ‘Let’s Connect‘ (interesting to us as our 20-year teaching programme is called Connected Kids!)
When we have connection (to our breath, the world, other people and to our own internal resources) we feel we belong. It helps us feel strong, think clearly and engage with life in a positive way.
This is what we want for young people. Especially in a world that makes many demands on their attention and abilities, yet doesn’t always consider the impact on child development.
So we need to give young people the skills and (mindful) tools to navigate this.
Hence we teach meditation and mindful skills that are child-centered and meet the needs of all youngpeople – all ages and abilities.
We particularly liked the paperchain idea that was promoted by Place2be.
It reminded us of our childhoods, creating paperchains for Christmas decorations.
In this instance, each link of the chain represents an idea/image or word that help young people to realise what connects them to the world and to themselves.
From a mindful/meditation perspective, we would suggest a few ideas to help create another element of creating the chain.
The colours we choose are significant. They communicate to ourselves (and others) where our energy is in any given moment. It’s something we talk about (a lot) on the Connected Kids programme, as it’s such an easy and subtle way for children to articulate their needs – through colour.
Paying attention to the colours they choose for the chain can help us understand what is important to them. Red – strength/safety, Orange – fun, playfulness, relationships, Yellow – confidence, feeling good about themselves, Pink – they need a hug!, Green – gratitude, compassion, belonging, Blue – finding the words to express what they feel, Purple – exploring their imagination and helping them solve problems, White – their place in the world and how they belong in it.
Meditation with Colour
In our experience, we have found using colour in meditations is a very simple yet fantastic way to help children feel more balanced and at ease. The colour they choose for the meditation is the one their energy needs (see list above for reference, though they may choose a different colour and that’s okay!)
- Simply invite the young person to get comfortable (and relax)
- You might get them to take a few deep breaths and breathe out stress
- Think of the colour they like/want – all around them like a bubble
- Really describe it forming around them – mention top, bottom, in front, behind, above and below.
- Use all the senses in describing this.
- Then invite them to breathe it in – it’s their healing colour. Their balancing colour. Imagine, feel, ‘see’ the colour breath going into the body and travelling on route like their blood does carrying oxygen.
- They are now totally filled and surrounded in colour.
- They can rest into their colour bubble (and use whatever positive words you want here).
This is a great meditation for children who are anxious. It’s also great to help them sleep. If your child can’t imagine colours (some can’t) – think of their favourite number instead.
And the meditation works for all ages – young and old. So remember to try it.
If you would like to receive a recording of this meditation, just click on ‘keep in touch’ (special offers) as we’ll be sending this out to our mailing list in the next few weeks. Check your spam if you don’t see it.