Ad | post contains PR gifted items | written by Kathryn Matlock @that.enchanted.life
As mums, the one thing we all want for our children is for them to be happy and healthy.
Sadly, research has shown that anxiety in children across the UK rose from 13% pre-pandemic to 20% post-pandemic, and both pre-schools and primary schools have reported that they are seeing the effects of the lockdowns on new starters, who often appear to struggle more with separation from their primary care givers than was the case for previous intakes. On top of this, primary aged children can face struggles throughout their schooling; from school transitions to exams and ongoing friendship worries, the reality is that anxiety and negativity can affect children of any age. Fortunately, there are many strategies that we can use to foster positivity and manage anxiety in our children. One of the most effective of these strategies – and one my girls and I really benefit from – is mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and fully engaging with what we are doing. It’s a powerful tool for reducing stress, promoting well-being and cultivating a positive attitude. The following mindfulness activities can be particularly beneficial for primary aged children, and beyond:
Yoga is a gentle, low-impact exercise that can help children to refine their physical strength & flexibility and improve their co-ordination, whilst also improving their focus and concentration, strengthening their mind-body connection, boosting their confidence and self-esteem and equipping them with the tools needed to live a more balanced life. Yoga is so beneficial that it is now taught as part of the PE curriculum at many primary schools. You can also attend classes for children or practice yoga at home with online videos or books. One of our favourite resources is Ommie Yoga, which stocks some wonderful A-Z Animal Alphabet yoga card, each of which include a related yoga pose, positive affirmation and fun facts about the animal I question and what the particular pose does for body and mind.
Encouraging children to keep a journal can be a great way to help them process their thoughts and feelings, and develop a greater sense of self-awareness. You can provide prompts for younger children, such as “what made you happy today?”, while older children may prefer to write freely. We love the book ‘A Little Monster’s Guide to Mindfulness’ by Emily Snape, which we were lucky enough to get a copy of prior to its release date of 13th July. The book follows the story of a little monster named Pickle as he journals the mindful methods he uses to manage his anxiety after a house and an accompanying change in school. As well as highlighting some useful journal prompts, this lovely book also provides lots of ideas for mindful activities for children aged 4+ to try at home.
Practicing gratitude is an excellent way to cultivate a positive mindset. Encourage your children to think about things they are grateful for, and to express their gratitude through actions such as writing thank-you notes or performing acts of kindness for others. Again, we’ve recently really been enjoying another Emily Snape book to help with this. Also due for release 13th July, and suitable for ages 4 and up, ‘A Little Monster’s Guide to Positivity’ tells the tale of a monster called Fluff, who worries that she isn’t quite as good at scaring as she wishes. We follow Fluff’s journey to self-acceptance as she learns love and give thanks for the things about herself that make her unique.
Sleep is essential for children’s health and well-being. Consistently getting the right amount of sleep can help children to feel more rested and less anxious. Encourage good sleep hygiene by establishing a bedtime routine that works for you and your children; consider limiting screen time before bed (or utilising tools to reduce the amount of blue light your children are exposed to through screens, such as filters or specific modes on devices) and ensure that your child’s sleeping environment is comfortable and free from distractions. It can also help to listen to calming sounds – like gentle music, lullabies or white noise – or use soothing fragrances such as lavender to lull little ones off to sleep.
In addition to these mindfulness activities, there are many other strategies that can help to promote positivity and manage anxiety in children. For example:
- Encourage regular exercise and physical activity, which can help to reduce stress and improve mood.
- Provide plenty of opportunities for your child to socialise and spend time with friends, which can help to build resilience and a sense of belonging.
- Be a good role model for your child by managing your own stress and anxiety as best you can. Children are very perceptive and can pick up on our moods and emotions. Remember you can’t fill from an empty cup and self-care isn’t selfish.
- Create a supportive and nurturing home environment, where your child feels loved, valued, and respected.
- Seek professional help if your child is experiencing significant anxiety or other mental health issues. Your GP can signpost you to specialist support services for younger children and their families.
Fostering positivity and managing anxiety in children aged 4-11 is a crucial aspect of parenting. Mindfulness activities such as yoga, journaling, gratitude, and good sleep can be highly effective tools for promoting well-being and reducing stress. By incorporating these activities into our daily routines, and creating a supportive and nurturing environment for our children, we can help them to develop the skills and mindset they need to lead happy and healthy lives.
I’m Kathryn, proud mum to three incredible daughters, part-time photographer and passionate blogger at That Mama Club. As an autistic parent raising children with additional needs, my personal experiences have shaped my perspective and ignited my passion for writing.
Through my blogs, I aim to provide support and a sense of community to fellow mothers facing similar situations. I believe in the power of sharing our triumphs and struggles to foster understanding and solidarity among parents.
With a background in safeguarding, I bring an expertise in creating safe environments for children and families, which informs my writing. I strive to empower parents with knowledge and resources for navigating the complexities of raising a family.
I focus on building connections, sharing experiences and fostering a sense of community to make a positive impact.
Connect with me on Instagram at https://instagram.com/that.enchanted.life, where I showcase the magic of motherhood through visual storytelling and hope to inspire others to find joy in their own lives.