The theme of this year's Children’s Mental Health Week is Express Yourself.
Expressing yourself is about finding ways to share feelings, thoughts, or ideas, through creativity. This could be through art, music, writing and poetry, dance and drama, photography and film, and doing activities that make you feel good.
A message from HRH The Duchess of Cambridge
How can I help my child to express themselves?
Here are a few simple ways you can encourage your child to express themselves.
1. Could you build on existing interests or passions?
2. Think about what has helped them get through the past year. A love of dancing? Baking? Drawing? Fashion?
3.Encourage your child by noticing their unique interests and praising their efforts.
4. Trying new things can be a great way to find a new creative outlet....could you try out something new together?
5. Focus on the importance of the process and the way it can make your child feel, rather than the end result. Try not to judge their efforts and remember to give encouragement for trying rather than for doing something well.
6. Listening carefully can help children feel more comfortable and confident when expressing themselves. Try to minimise distractions and give your child your full attention when you’re spending time together, being aware of your own body language and eye contact.
7. Children are expressing themselves all the time but not necessarily with words. ‘Listen’ to everything they are trying to tell you with their behaviour, or with their play and creativity or with their silence. It’s all self-expression.
8. Remember – you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to get creative at home. Recyclable materials or older items you no longer have a use for can provide amazing inspiration, and of course there’s no limit to your imagination!
9. Let your child know that if they are worried about something, they should always talk to an adult they trust. It could be you, someone in your family, a teacher or someone else in their school.
10. If you’re worried about your child’s mental health you can talk to your GP or someone at St Mary's.
I can express myself through Art.
This virtual session features Hannah Brooks (Aardman), Annabelle Davis (The Dumping Ground), Oli Hyatt (Blue Zoo Studios) and Ayo Norman-Williams, with an activity idea from Place2Be’s Art Room team
I can express myself through Dance
This virtual session features Oti Mabuse, JJ Chalmers and choreographer Christina Andrea, with an activity idea from one of Oak National Academy’s dance teachers.
Join in with Funky Freestyle, Ballet, Gymnastics and Street Dance...you won't be able to stop dancing. Have fun!
I can express myself through Yoga
Have a go at Yoga in the jungle, Yoga with the Gruffalo, Yoga in space! Practice breathing and visualisation techniques to relax. Fun for all the family.
I can express myself through Writing
This virtual session features Shaun Duggan (Jamie Johnson), Sharna Jackson (High Rise Mystery), James Lamont (The Adventures of Paddington) and Holly Phillips (Get Even), with an activity idea from one of Oak National Academy’s English teacher
I can express myself through Football
Get the football bug and have a go at High Knees, Messi Footwork and practice your Keepy-Ups!
I can express myself through Acting
This virtual session features Bukky Bukray (Rocks), Kia Pegg (The Dumping Ground), Patrick Ward (Jamie Johnson) and Tom Clarke-Hill (Robozuna), with an activity idea from one of Oak National Academy’s drama teachers.
A huge thank you to all of the contributors, and to BAFTA Kids and Oak National Academy
I can express myself through my Emotions
Lucy's Blue Day : A Children's Mental Health Book
Lucy’s Blue Day is about a very special little girl with magical hair. It changes colour with her emotions. If she is feeling happy, it is purple. If she is jealous, it will turn green. This charming story is the tale of when Lucy wakes up and her hair is blue, and she doesn’t understand why.
Lucy soon learns that it is #OKNotToBeOK