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Children's Mental Health Week

This week (1 – 7 February) is #ChildrensMentalHealthWeek, and this year’s theme is ‘express yourself’. We have put together a children’s self-care checklist, which you can use to check in with your children on how they’re feeling, and ways in which they can improve their mental wellbeing.

The guide is designed to be both informative and interactive, and include everything from fun exercises – think: dancing around your kitchen – to the importance of eating your five-a-day, and getting enough sleep.

We’ve also put together a fun activity guide for you to try at home including stress relief slime, a glitter jar, and bubbles of kindness!

It’s important to remind our children – especially right now – that there are things that are out of our control, but that there are little things that we can decide to do each day, to improve how we’re feeling both physically and mentally.

Download your own Self-care Checklist here

Download the Self-care Checklist Guide here

Download our Activity Guide here

I got a good night’s sleep

Let’s face it, sometimes we don’t want to go to sleep. It’s because being awake is much more exciting, there’s lots of fun to be had. But a good night’s sleep is really important. It helps our brain recharge, it helps our body repair itself. And it helps us feel more energised ready for more fun to be had the next day! So make sure you try and get a good night’s sleep. It might help to have a warm drink before bed, turn off any screens, do some reading, keep the lights low, some relaxing music. Enjoy your sleep time, you’ve earned it.

I ate my five-a-day

Eating well is super important. Yes, chocolate tastes better than broccoli, sweets taste better than carrots. But we need to make sure we eat well as often as we can. But why is it important? Healthy food like fruit, vegetables, grains and nuts are full of vitamins and minerals. They help us stay healthy and help us grow. They also help us fight off disease and keep us strong. If we eat too much junk food, in time it can make us feel pretty bad. So enjoy some junk once in a while, but keep yourself on the good stuff. Your body and mind will thank you in the long run.

I drank lots of water

Water literally is the most important thing for our bodies. Our cells are made of water and we need to keep them in tip top shape. Again, water doesn’t taste as good as juice or coke, but it’s loads better for us. The more water we drink, the more awake we feel, the better we can concentrate. It keeps us alive! You’ve heard the phrase water is life? Well if not, you have now. And it’s completely true. Water helps keep our bodies free of toxins too. Some tips for you, water is way better cold. So keep some ice handy and then crunch the ice cubes after. Stick in a slice of orange or lemon to make it fruiter if you like. But whatever you do, keep hydrated.

I had an hour with no screen time

TV and screens are brilliant. We can watch programmes, chat to our friends and family and play games. The problem is, too much screen time isn’t always good for us. The light that comes out of screens can dry our eyes, make it hard to sleep and also make it hard for us to concentrate on other things. We have all been there, after an hour long binge of your favourite programmes, it can be hard to even answer a simple question like, what do you want for dinner? Give your brain something different to do and have a break from the screen. You’ll appreciate the screen more if you do. And your brain will be well chuffed you’re giving it lots of different things to do.

I did some exercise

Exercise is really important to keep healthy. It’s good to give the muscles a work out. Including your heart. So doing anything that makes your heart beat faster is good. It doesn’t have to be a sport or the gym, you can get good exercise from walking the dog, a jog round the park, dancing round the kitchen making tea or playing catch with a ball or frisbee. We were born to move but modern life means we tend to sit more. Get up once in a while and do some exercise. When you do, your brain releases feel-good chemicals. You’ll feel super! And you’ll feel good about yourself too. Double win!

I did one thing that made me feel good

Life can be hard sometimes. And it’s easy to forget what we enjoy if there’s stuff going on making you worried or sad. So take some time every day to do something you love. Not what your mates think you should do, or your parents- but what YOU love. As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, it’s all good. It could be some drawing, some reading, some gaming, exercise, listen to music, some cooking. There’s so many choices. And the only rule is that whatever you do, it’s got to be something you like and enjoy.

Activity Guide

Stress Relief Slime

YOU WILL NEED… Cornflour, a bowl, water, a spoon, food colouring and glitter (optional)

  1. Put a few big scoops of cornflour into a mixing bowl. About a cupful should work well
  2. Mix in enough water to make a thick liquid. Pour slowly as the slime with change thickness very quickly. If you add too much, just add cornflour
  3. Carefully stir in a few drops of food colouring and/or glitter into the mix if you wish
  4. Now try squeezing your slime – it can act as a stress reliever! Notice how it reacts to your energy. When you squeeze it, the slime will become solid. When you release it, the slime softens. Try inhaling when you squeeze and exhaling when releasing.

  Glitter Jar

YOU WILL NEED… Water, a clean empty jar with a lid, clear PVA glue and glitter.

  1. Pour water into the jar, then add a big squeeze of PVA glue
  2. Add your glitter into the jar. It may float at first, but will settle slowly. Different colours may represent our different emotions
  3. Put the lid back on tightly and gently shake your jar. Watch as the glitter get stirred up inside
  4. Carefully watch the glitter as it falls. How many deep breaths does it take for glitter to settle
  5. Anytime you feel stressed or worried, shake your glitter jar and patiently watch for the glitter to fall and settle.

Bubbles of Kindness

YOU WILL NEED… Pipe cleaners, beads, a jar, water, washing-up liquid and glycerine

  1. Twist together two pipe cleaners to make on thicker one. Then, carefully make a loop at one end to make a bubble wand with a handle
  2. Feeling extra creative? You can decorate your bubble wand with beads or you could even try twisting the end into different shapes like a heart or a star
  3. Mix together equal parts water and washing up liquid into your jar. Then carefully add a splash of glycerine to make it into bubble mix
  4. Dip your wand into the bubble mixture and gently blow a bubble. Imagine all of your kind thoughts filling the bubbles as you watch them float out into the world.

Download your guide here.

There’s lots about the world and about life we can’t control. But we can control some of how we use our time and how we treat our minds and bodies. So please take care of yourself. You’re great. You’re important. You’re amazing. And you deserve it!

If you are a young person struggling with thoughts of suicide, or you are concerned about a young person who might be you can contact HOPELINEUK for confidential support and practical advice. Call 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039 967 or email to speak with an adviser.

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