It is important for children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others. Personal, Social and Emotional development involves children forming positive relationships and developing respecting for themselves and others. Children develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings, this includes adapting behaviour to different situations and having confidence in their own abilities.
The world is an increasingly busy place, even for very young children, and can often seem overwhelming. The ability to step back and create calm, reflective spaces in our lives is beneficial to our mental health.
Here are some activities you can do to support your child's well being:
Sit in a circle with the children and ask them to describe different emotions. How does it feel when they are angry, happy or worried? You could prompt them by creating this visual representation.
A sound hunt
‘We’re going on a sound hunt, we’re going to find a loud one, what a beautiful day, what can we hear?’ Go on a trip to a local park or nature reserve. Sit down and ask the children to listen out for different sounds. Ask children to share the sound that they can hear.
Keep an eye on the weather for this activity, as ideally you need partial cloud cover and a good breeze. Get the children to lie down outside and look up at the clouds (taking care not to look directly at the sun). Ask them to look out for shapes and notice how the clouds change as they move along.
Put a selection of objects with different shapes and textures into a bag. Get the children to take turns putting their hands in, feeling one of the objects and describing it to the others (without looking at it) in as much detail as possible.
Get the children to lie down on the floor, on comfortable mats. Take them through a guided relaxation exercise (e.g. focusing on all of their muscles in turn) or guided visualisation story (e.g. imagining they are lying on a beach). There are plenty of these available to download online.
There are several ways of practising mindful breathing with young children. It works best when combined with some kind of action, for example counting off on one hand as you breathe in and the other hand as you breathe out, or putting your hand on your tummy to feel it moving in and out.