If you have a child with mental health needs, it can be difficult to know how to help them when they’re feeling anxious or stressed. With the school holidays approaching, here's some advice on helping children with mental health issues in the holidays:
Consider your child's routine
Consider your child's routine. As mentioned above, routines help children feel secure and know what is expected of them. If you can't keep to your usual schedule, try to keep some aspect of it intact - perhaps wake up time or bedtime rituals. If this isn't possible, talk to your child about why things have changed and reassure them that they are still loved and cared for by explaining that although the holiday may be different, it will still be fun!
Create a special place for your child to go and play
The holidays are a time to relax and enjoy for your children, but it can be difficult when they're feeling stressed. A great way to support their mental wellbeing is by creating a special place where they can go and play whenever they want.
The best thing about this idea is that it can be as simple or as elaborate as you like! You could create a whole room just for them (with lots of different materials) or just use an area in your home that's safe, quiet and free from distractions such as phones/TV etc.
Take time out to enjoy some calm yourself
One of the best ways to support your child's mental health is by taking time out for yourself. As a parent, you know how important it is for them to have fun and relax during the holidays - but it's also essential that you do the same.
Take some time out from your busy schedule and enjoy some calm yourself. Go for a walk in the park or along the beach; book yourself into a yoga class; take a bath with aromatherapy oils; watch your favourite movie on Netflix or catch up on Game of Thrones (or both). You could even read a book!
Encourage physical activity and healthy eating
The holidays can be a stressful time for children, and they may feel more anxious than usual. Encourage your child to get involved in physical activity during the holidays and help them make healthy choices about what they eat.
Food is an important part of our culture and social lives, but it's also easy to overeat or indulge in sugary treats when we're feeling down. The NHS Eat Well Guidelines recommend eating well-balanced meals that include vegetables, fruit and grains (such as rice or pasta). They also suggest limiting foods high in fat, sugar or salt - including ice cream!
We hope this article has given you some ideas on how to support your child's mental health in school holidays. There is no doubt that it can be a difficult time for many families, but by following these simple tips we believe that you will find it easier than ever before!