Every child should be and feel happy, bright and giggly! They should be able to feel the peace and calm inside them. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. I realized kids can suffer just as deeply as any adult can with mental health in my journey. For a few years, my son's back to school was ridden with so much anxiety and overwhelm. He wasn't sleeping and emotionally done when he got home from school. One day, I realized we had to put something in place to help him unwind from his day to enjoy his activities and family time in the evening. We began to dedicate 15 minutes to relax every day after school, whether meditation, reading or drawing—NO SCREEN TIME. After about a week, there was a dramatic shift in his emotions. He was more focused on his afterschool activities; he verbalized his feelings, and his bedtime routine was no longer a fight.
For the last couple of years, it's been my vision to support and help children with mental health, as I have seen firsthand how hard it can be. Through trust and communication, kids and anyone can try different tools to see hope and mitigate overwhelming emotions. Taking care of our kids emotionally is just as important as physically. Giving children space to breathe, process and clear their heads from all the energy they've been around doesn't need to be complicated or this huge production. Setting aside 15-30 minutes a day after school allows them to clear their mind and then be more present, relaxed, more receptive and responsive after. These are valuable tools we can help our children develop that they can use as they grow up. They will have the means to learn how to get rid of emotions and feelings in their day and not let them stew as they head into sleep. Small guided practises as a parent can have a significant impact on our children's life.
Find the activities that work for your family. Somethings to do as an after school unwind activity are:
· Listen to music or a podcast
· Drawing, writing, colouring
· Puzzles, lego
· Go for a walk, rollerblade, bike ride
· Reading a book
Of course, there will be resistance with anything new we ask our children to do, but remember, 15 minutes isn't much time, and the benefits will be worth it. And it is ok to reward them for this activity. If they do 15 minutes unwind time, then maybe they can have a treat or do something.
Children are so busy with multiple activities. As parents, we need to remember to allow them space and time to breathe. And you know what… sometimes kids need to have a mental health day and stay at home just like adults. It is ok to say no and do nothing. Follow your intuition as a parent and do what's best for them.
If you need help or assistance incorporating these practices into your home life, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.