This past week has been Children’s Mental Health Week – and the theme ‘Let’s Connect’. At school and at home my two children have been learning about ways to improve their mental health, including how to ask for support when they need it, and how important it is to give themselves time to work through things they’re experiencing.
To support their learning journey we were sent three books from Summersdale in journal form.
The first ‘My Worry Journal’ is one that Arlo has really enjoyed working through, as very often he will let little worries from school affect his whole day, which is hard for both him and the rest of the household. This journal helps kids aged around 7-11 to ‘write away your worries and chill out with calming activities’. It’s written in really easy to understand language, with bold, clear and easy to read text too. There’s a cute little character called Fiz too who appears throughout the book.
- drawing smiles on animals and thinking about what’s made them happy
- Breathing exercises
- what can you see, smell, hear and touch
- colouring exercises
Along with easy to digest snippets about why the exercises can help support mental health and contribute to worrying less. It’s based on CBT and mindfulness techniques.
The next journal ‘Be The Change, Be Calm’ is an interactive activity book for children aged around 9 – 12 with the aim to explain where anxiety comes from and how we can train our brains to overcome worries through storytelling, and how our second brain works.
Split into 8 chapters, author Marcus Sedgwick covers what anxiety is, where it comes from, what animals can teach us about anxiety and some calming tricks to lesson our own anxieties.
- Leanring about ‘Cardian coherence’ or 365 breathing
- how to lessen external stressors
- all about catastrophising
- storytelling exercises
- The Basic Exerise to connect to your second brain
I think this will be a book that is helpful to come back to again and again, as new worries and anxieties appear. I think it will definitely be one to revisit in the summer holidays before starting secondary school too. Athena has read through the first three chapters and the animal chapter so far and has said she finds it really easy to understand and the instructions for the exercises are well explained and easy to remember.
The final book we were sent was one for me to read first, in preparation for Athena as she starts to grow into a teenager. Called ‘A Girls Guide to being Awesome’ it’s full of empowering advice for teenage life. With any advice book like this I always like to read through to make sure that the advice and information is relevant and in line with the sort of advice we would give our children when they ask, and to make myself aware of any conversations that might come up as a result of them reading it. It’s less about periods and puberty but more about teaching girls what they need to know about being empowered and navigating their teen years.
Topics covered include:
- Social Media & how to make it work for you
- Self Esteem
- Finding your Sparkle
I think Athena will probably be ready for this next year when she is around 11, and before she starts secondary school – purely because I’m sure a lot of the topics covered in the book will be things that are talked about by the older children and I’d not want her first experience of certain things to be taught by teenagers – if that makes sense!