Children’s mental health – some resources

Here in the UK, it is "children mental health week". 

Place2Be launched the first ever Children’s Mental Health Week in 2015 to shine a spotlight on the importance of children and young people’s mental health. Now in its fifth year, they hope to encourage more people than ever to get involved and spread the word.

Maybe some of you knows that I am also a Yoga and mindfulness teacher for children.

In my Discipline course, I offer some practical info about how to help your child to express his emotions and you have also access to a children's yoga and mindfulness sequence. 

Do you feel overwhelmed by your child's behaviour? Not sure how to handle tantrums? You know that Montessori is all about freedom but what about limits?

My Montessori and Gentle Discipline Course will help you to understand your child and to bring peace into your home.

I've been practicing yoga with children aged from 6 months old to 12 years old. The youngest ones are the most receptive. It's amazing to give them tools to cope with daily struggles during their formative years. Some preschoolers have been with me since they are babies and now they take a deep breath when they hurt themselves or cope better with tantrums, according to the staff in their nursery. 

I started to be interested in yoga for children because my daughter was and still is an "anxious" child. As I was practicing yoga myself, I started to practice with her too.

Because there were no specific classes for children in our area, I decided to train. I'm a bit of a training or parenting junkie!

Anyway, 3 years later, I still teach and we use many resources at home too. 

Let me share with you some of those ressources

Books for the worried child:

My daughter, now 11, has been using these 2 books on a regular basis.

They are full of activities and various ways to look at your worries and how to cope.

Children's worry book. Find it here.

No worries - Find it here.

I personally use "The huge bag of worries" with my own children. I like that it explains in a child's friendly way that "worries" might belong to someone else. Our children are like sponge and they feel how we feel. Therefore they might be anxious because of the grown-up problems and way of life.

With this book, you can also make some more concrete resource like make a real bag and place worries inside:

  • ask your child to write or draw what he is worried about on a slip of paper and place each slip in the worry bag,
  • help him to determine if the worry is his or his parents, or his school teacher - pressure to pass exam for example, his friends's issues...
  • You may want to use one colour paper for each kind of worry (school, friends, parents, his/her own worry, world worry and so on....). That way your child will have a concrete vision of what are his real reasons to be anxious, those he can act upon (because there are his) and he might realize that he doesn't have so many in the end (when he has sorted away those that are not his).
  • add some worry dolls: According to the legend from Guatemala,  children tell their worries to the Worry Dolls, placing them under their pillow when they go to bed at night. By morning the dolls have gifted them with the wisdom and knowledge to eliminate their worries. 

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Resources to explore emotions

How Are You Feeling Today? is packed with fun, imaginative ways to help children understand and cope with a whole range of different emotions. 

A great dip-in book where children can choose a feeling that relates to them and then turn to the page that provides child-friendly strategies for dealing with that feeling. Helpful parent notes at the back of the book provide more ideas for parents to use with their child and other strategies to try out together and practice the all important skill of dealing with feelings.#

I recommend this book for children 4 and over as there is a lot to process!

I use this one for the younger children, from 2 years old to 5 years old.

Are you feeling happy, sad, excited, worried, shy, scared, or grumpy? Do you know why? This book will introduce emotions and show you how to talk about, share, or enjoy what you feel. There are lovely illustrations that will make you smile, frown, or jump for joy.A fantastic first book for understanding how we feel - and what to do about it!

Growth mindset and Journaling

I have been using the Big life Journal printables with my children and in my yoga classes. They are free and very easy to use.

Then there is the Big life Journal.

Now that my son is reaching 7, I'm thinking of having one for him and the teen edition for my daughter. Do you have it?

This growth mindset journal empowers children to face challenges head-on, think positive, embrace mistakes, and know they can achieve anything!

Featuring a new and interesting topic every week, the Big Life Journal develops strong Social and Emotional Learningand growth mindset skills through inspiring stories, colorful illustrations, and engaging guided activities.

With plenty of room to draw and write on each page, the Big Life Journal lets kids work at their own pace as they reflect, learn, and grow.

More info here.

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About the Author Carine Robin

Carine Robin is a a mother of 2 children. She raises them the Montessori way. Originally from Belgium where she worked as a child psychologist for several years, Carine spent 6 years in Ireland before settling in in the UK. She qualified as a Montessori teacher 10 years ago and has since worked as Montessori teacher and preschool manager. She founded Montessori-family in 2011 to provide opportunities for parents to discover Montessori. She believes that it’s truly possible to implement the Montessori ideas at home to make your house and family life welcoming to your child, her needs and her thrive for independence. She offers parents & babies classes, toddlers playgroups; Montessori home designs, one to one support, parenting classes and online courses.