It’s Children’s mental health week this week and with the pandemic it’s more important than ever to check in with our kids and see how they are feeling. I always think this sounds a lot easier than in practice it is. Our kids physical health is easy to manage – eat a good mix of food at least 3 times a day (with 2 snacks), get some exercise and get to bed at a reasonable hour and you have more or less cracked it, job done. But tackling kid’s mental health? Much harder.
There are however lots of free resources online – and if you go to children’s mental health week , there are lots of suggestions for you to follow. The theme of the kid’s mental health week is express yourself and this is done in lots of different ways through art, dance and music.
If you are like me and there just isn’t enough hours in the day to both feed, clean, home-school and work as it is, without adding more pressure to start printing off and downloading yet more activity sheets. Here’s a quick and easy thing to do to just have some fun together and have a chat about common things your child maybe worried about.
Create a Worry Monster
The idea is that you create a worry monster that eats worries up for breakfast. You can make a worry eater out of anything you have in the house such as an egg carton, tissue box or a shoe box, the main component is that it has an ability to “eat”. You can then decorate the monster as you see fit – there are no rules!
As you are making the monster you can calmly and selectively ask your child about things they think the worry monster will eat.
Common Kids Worries
Common Worries are getting lost, being kidnapped, failing in school, Fire, dogs, snakes and harm coming to a parent. I think with the pandemic the worry about what happens if…. Will be at the forefront of most kids minds, what happens if you get COVID who will look after me? What happens if mummy and daddy both get COVID …. You get the picture. Chatting about the what if is exactly what this exercise if for, it will allay fears and make your child feel more secure.
Once the worry monster is created, you can then feed the monster your worries (worries can be written down or drawn, or just spoken into the worry monster’s mouth) and the worry monster will eat them all up.
This is an activity the whole family can do together and have a bit of fun. I usually will suggest silly places to put things like the monster’s eyes which always elicits the “silly mummy” response and giggles.
If you love the worry monster in the pictures and would like to recreate him you can, we have created an activity box that gets delivered to you every month that’s bursting full of lots of activities to make and do with your child, and the worry monster is just part of the activities. Sitting and creating together is a great way of improving kids mental health and we have 9 other activities in the box too.
We also love to see all your creations, so please don’t forget to visit our Facebook Page and send us your pictures there