Over the next few weeks I am going to post some links/ ideas for support around emotional development. In the UK for many parents this is the first week of starting the home educating, schools have sent home work to do, there are loads of free resources etc out there, but I know the list can be a bit overwhelming. My daily work is around supporting emotional development for children and staff, I thought a few links and ideas on this area might be useful. To start with here are some basic starting ideas.
We all need routine in our lives, our children are used to routine in school and nursery. Try and come up with a daily routine, that is going to work for you all. Write / draw this up so everyone in the family can see, involve the children in this planning. But also be realistic, you all need time and space to relax, play, do things you enjoy. As well as thinking about the routine as a family, think abut your own routine, put something in each day which will help you survive e.g reading at the end of the day, doing an online exercise class etc.
When possible regularly spend time outside. At the moment we can all still go outside, Being outside is known to lower our stress levels, this is vital for both parents and children. Observe guidance on avoiding people, but still try and spend time outside each day. Even if it is just walking around the streets of your local area, this is still important time outside. If you wanted you could use this opportunity to identify birds, flowers or trees. Birds of Britain and British Tress are both free and useful apps. The woodland trust have some suggestions of things you can do outside.
Mindfulness and Yoga
Stress and anxiety levels are high for everyone at the moment. A regular practice of mindfulness and or yoga can be a gentle way to support us. If possible I would suggest you put in place a daily practice that you do together with your children. Some useful links are:
Mindful Kids- 50 mindfulness activities– By Whitney Stewart ( This is a box of cards with 50 different activities to do) ( age 2 plus)
Yoga Pretzels- 50 Fun Yoga Activities for kids and Grownups – Tara Guber ( This is a box of cards with 50 different activities to do) ( age 2 plus)
Csomic Kids Yoga and mindfulness – you tube – There are a wide variety of mindfulness and yoga sessions on here for younger children. ( age 2 plus)
Connect with others
We will all be missing our friends and extended family. The children will be feeling this just as much as adults. We all need to find new ways to connect and stay in touch with people, setting up Skype/ face time/ zoom connections can be helpful for everyone. Children can find speaking on the phone difficult but when they see someone on the screen it can sometimes make that easier for them.
Notice our feelings and emotions
This is a time of huge change for everyone, we will all be feeling such a wide range of feelings and emotions, and this is ok. We all need to be aware of how and what we are feeling and help our children to do the same. Using the I wonder phrase can be so useful to recognise and acknowledge what a child is experiencing , if they are struggling with missing their friends you could say ‘ I wonder if you are feeing lonely and sad, that’s ok, if they are feeling frustrated and angry you could say ‘ I wonder if you are feeling really cross right now. It’s important for us of all to know the feelings we have are neither right of wrong, they just are, however this does not mean it is ok for children ( or adults) to hit out etc when we have strong feelings. It is also important for adults to recognise our own feelings e.g saying to our children I too am feeling cross and sad right now that we can not see our friends.
Books can be a really useful way of extending our understanding of feelings and emotions, below are some suggestions
The feelings book- Todd Parr ( age 1 up)
The colour monster- Anna Llenas ( age 2 up)
Feelings inside my heart and in my head- Libby Walden and Richard Jones ( age 3/4 up)
What are feelings- Katie Daynes and Christine Pym ( age 3/4 up)
Hello Happy- Mindful kids activity book for children who sometimes feel sad or angry- Stepahnie Clarkson and Dr Sharie Coombes- ( age 5 plus)
No worries Mindful kids activity book for children who sometimes feel sad or anxious-Dr Sharie Coombs- ( age 5 plus)
Also these are great
Sesame street- Ernies feelings game- you tube (age 2 plus)
Sesame street- Ernie sings feelings – you tube( age 2 plus)
Inside out ( age 4/ 5 plus)
Song of the sea ( age 4/5 plus)