Children’s Mental Health Week in the UK is from 6th February to 12th February 2017. This year the aim is to ‘Spread A Little Kindness’. Whether you are a parent or teacher, child or adult, this aim is something we can all do in our everyday lives. Children look to adults to show them how to behave, so let’s set an example of kindness.
Place2Be carried out a survey on over 700 Year 6 pupils, of whom 63% reported feeling worried about school, home or themselves. Place2Be work with Primary and Secondary Schools in the UK, providing emotional and therapeutic support through talk, creative work and play. The issues that frequently arise are: bullying, bereavement, domestic violence, family breakdown, neglect and trauma.
Place2Be state that ‘small acts of kindness can make all the difference’ and this is something that we can help even young children to do. Here are some ways to help you encourage children to be kind:
- Ask someone to join in a game or a conversation.
- Say ‘Well done’ when you can see someone has tried their best. Encourage others to be proud of their achievements (the surprise is that you feel good about it too!)
- If someone looks sad, listen to what they have to say. Or just sit with them until they feel less sad. If the problem is too big or serious, tell a grown-up you can trust.
- If someone looks lost or confused, offer to help or tell an adult who can help.
- Think about sharing… your time, your activities, your smile.
Stories are also an excellent way to encourage children to be kind. Here are some books suitable for children under 12 (with links to Amazon):
Helping Polly Parrot:Pirates Can Be Kind by Tom Easton and Mike Gordon
Have You Filled A Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
Kindness Ninja by Brian Williams and Lynnette Bellin
The Princess in my Teacup by Sally Huss
I Don’t Want to Play Nicely by Sue Graves and Desideria Guicciardini
Do Nice, Be Kind, Spread Happy by Bernadette Russell
We Are Kind and Helpful by Donna Luck and Juliet Doyle
Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
Harry the Happy Mouse by K, NG and Janelle Dimmett
Today’s children are tomorrow’s adults so children’s well-being is a matter for all of us. Being kind is something we can all do, not just in Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week but every day.