In the last 3 years, my family has witnessed our share of traumatic experiences.
Like most, in 2020, our world was turned upside down. My children were right there in the trenches, alongside us, hanging onto the glimmer of hope.
Our lives went from being able to move freely, to being confined to our home…uncertain of what time would bring. I watched as my eldest son and daughter struggled with school and not being able to physically interact with their peers. I watched as they tried to process a loved one passing suddenly, without not being able to say goodbye. I watched, as they watched their loved ones grieve, and they questioned why such a tragedy happened in their family.
These last few years have taught me a lot about mental health, and I realize how vital it is to recognize the signs of suffering and mental illness. Teaching them to be aware of their own mental health (or those around them), helping them recognize triggers, giving them coping strategies, and adopting intentional practices as a family are all essential to their health.
As a family, we have many conversations surrounding mental health and use every opportunity to help each other. I have found that family practices and books help my children to be more open about their feelings or struggles.
Practices that help in our family:
Open the Floor: Open the floor for children to express their feelings without judgement. This is always done with respect both to the children and parents, so no family boundaries, values, or rules are crossed.
Build Trust: Building trust takes time, and the same can be true with your growing children. Any information shared, stays within the family unit, unless further outside guidance or assistance is needed.
Set Strategies in Place: Every family and every child is different, find strategies that work for your family. Whether it’s read alouds, therapy, family retreats, mindfulness practices, etc., it’s worth implementing strategies to benefit the entire family.
Here’s a list of a few books or mindful tools we use in our home:
-The Boy with Big, Big Feelings by Britney Winn Lee
-Breathing Makes It Better by Christopher Willard
-Catching Thoughts by Bonnie Clark
-B is for Breathe: The ABC’s of Coping with Fussy Feelings and Frustrations
-Slow Down: 30 Mindful Activity Cards by Emily Sharratt
Making Simple Calming Bottles
Calming bottles are great for little hands and minds, when a moment of peace is needed.
Calming bottles are easy to make, and you can use many simple items found around the home. Our favorite calming bottle is a simple mix of water and water beads.
-Bottle with lid (can be purchased from Amazon or your local craft store)
- Soaked Water Beads (we used our Chickadees Wooden Toys Pond beads, or you can purchase some from Amazon).
Fill the bottle with about 1/3 of soaked water beads. Then add water, leaving a little room for air. Add hot glue to the base of the bottle, and then secure the top.
I hope you all enjoyed this post.