Children’s Mental Health Week is taking place from the 6th – 12th February 2023. During this week we will be encouraging making meaningful connections for all. With a theme of ‘lets connect’, this year is all about community, and the importance of our health and sense of wellbeing being supported by a healthy connection to family, friends and peers.
At Kids Play Childcare, Mental Health is a topic at the forefront of our teaching and learning approach. We encourage our children to talk about their feelings, and celebrate World Mental Health Day each year across our nursery sites. Connecting with others not only develops social skills, but avoids negative mental health impact, such as loneliness and isolation.
We have put together a variety of ways you can help ‘connect’ your little one with others in healthy, rewarding and meaningful ways.
Practice conversational skills
Developing your child’s ability to socialise begins with conversation skills. This is something that is regularly practiced at Nursery and Pre-School, and can be continued back home through conversation and body language.
As a role model figure in your child’s life, the actions and expressions you use regularly are likely to be imitated by them. One way you can practice conversational skills with your child is by modelling friendly greetings. By showing a genuine interest in conversating with your little one, as well as smiling, waving and nodding to show you are happy to see them, it will encourage your child to replicate these actions and therefore strengthen connections. This teaches how to show interest in what your peers are about to say, and makes encourages the positive action of sparking the initial conversation.
Talk about feelings with your child
Talking about your feelings is not only beneficial for your mind, but is also extremely beneficial in understanding other peoples feelings in day to day conversations and life. Talking about both positive and negative feelings with your child is effective as it validates the emotions they are feeling, making it real and easier to self-control. Examples of questions you could ask your little one are:
- What made you happy today?
- What was your favourite part of the day?
- How are you today?
- Did anything make you sad today?
These questions are a great starting point for discussion. Once your little one feels comfortable discussing their feelings, they will also begin to understand social queues around them of how others are feeling, allowing for further connections based on this.
Encourage hobbies and play dates
A key way to ensure your child is connecting with others is to ensure they are building relationships outside of the Nursery setting as well as within. Encouraging hobbies and arranging play dates is an effective way to tackle this, as it surrounds your little one with other children and family members to socialise with, whilst doing something they enjoy. By surrounding your child with different people in various settings it encourages a positive relationship with connecting with others, as well as giving them something to look forward to.
How we connect with our community
At Kids Play Childcare we ensure we are involved with supporting the local community, and spark positive conversations with the children about connecting with others. The children have recently visited our local retirement home, where they learnt the importance of connecting with others of all ages to avoid negative mental health such as loneliness. We are also actively involved with raising money and awareness for dates such as Comic Relief and charities such as Macmillan, whilst supporting the local community and schools with bake sales and coffee mornings.
These events allow us to continue the conversation into the importance of connecting with the community around us, as well as discussing the importance of making connections and what a life without connections may look like.Back to Articles