Children’s Mental Health – An introduction to Mindfulness
The age at which children are presented with mental health Issues is getting younger and younger. A slew of reports in the last few years make for shocking reading:
- A recent Public Health England (PHE) survey revealed that 38% of children were more worried since the pandemic and 52% of parents said the mental health of their children was their top concern.
- Last month, the Child and Adolescent Faculty of The Royal College of Psychiatrists issued a warning of terrifying levels of mental health problems for the under 18s, based on analysis of an NHS and Office of National Statistics report.
- An NHS Digital survey, published in October 2020, found an overall rise in mental disorders from one in nine (10.8%) children aged 5 to 16 in 2017 to one in six (16%) in July 2020.
- Findings by Young Minds in January 2021 found that 49% of children felt their school was not focusing on mental health and wellbeing in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Taking care of your child’s mental and emotional well being is more important than ever. The buildup of negative emotions can have a huge impact on a child’s future, but this can be avoided through the correct practice of mindfulness and meditation.
There is increasing support from the Education Sector and NHS for Mindfulness and meditation interventions being introduced from an early age to manage emotional concerns.
Why should children be encouraged to practice mindfulness?
Mindfulness can help your children to:
- Stay calm, grounded and focused on their education
- Build compassion and unconditional love
- Reduce stress, anxiety, reactivity and bad behaviour
- Improve sleep, resilience and wellbeing
- Increase self esteem and confidence
- increase imagination and problem solving skills
- Heighten awareness of physical body, thoughts and emotions at an early stage
- Learn tools to look after their own mental health.
How do I begin to teach my child mindfulness?
Firstly, parents, teachers and carers are encouraged to practice these techniques themselves, to be a positive role model. The techniques are equally helpful for adults, who are encouraged to demonstrate the techniques to their children.
There are many forms of meditation. Mindfulness is one where children are guided to stay in the here and now with the focus on the breadth, body, task in hand and/or environment. You may first encourage your child to try a few techniques, then start each day with 2 minutes and build it up from there.
Covid and the complexities it has created can trigger feelings such as frustration, anger and sadness. Some children may not know how to express these.
How our books can help.
The six Chakraji Series of Children’s books uses imaginative storytelling,to help children articulate and manage stressful situations. This is done by introducing Chakraji, a child’s magical best friend, who passes on natural breathing and mindfulness based practical techniques that a child will find easy to use and benefit from. The aim is that the child will learn to integrate this way of helping to alleviate stress, making this a spontaneous response to difficult situations.
This series of Chakraji books introduces a range of different mindfulness-based breathing, relaxation and positive affirmation techniques, to enable children to build a repertoire of coping skills that can help manage stress throughout their life.
Children may not have the capability to articulate distress. Hence it is important to find creative and natural ways of helping them express negative emotions and ways of overcoming these. By learning these skills at an early age, it may prevent the development of mental health issues in later life.
It is imperative to offer support and coping strategies such as relaxation, reframing of negative thoughts and being able to share their concerns in the early stage of worry before a child hits crisis point and breakdown.
The Chakraji series are available from our website www.aumconsultancy.co.uk or from Amazon or Waterstones.
CHAKRAJI AND CALM CALLUM
CHAKRAJI AND RELAXED RAVINA
CHAKRAJI AND PEACEFUL PETER
Next in series- CHAKRAJI AND BEAUTIFUL BELLA
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hansa is passionate about introducing children to the uses of mindfulness and relaxation at an early age, to aid their future mental health. After having written 5 books on adult and corporate wellbeing, Hansa created the Chakraji series, being concerned with the rising levels of anxiety in children especially since the pandemic.
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