by Eleanor Smith, Service Manager FCSS Keith.
Events such as Children’s Mental Health Week (7th- 13th February 2022) are amazing for bringing this area to the forefront of child development, where it should rightly be. At the Strathisla Children’s Centre, the mental health and wellbeing of our children are paramount in everything that we do. Children’s healthy minds are supported by adults who nurture and love them and become attuned with individual needs and personalities. Children need adults around them who will champion their unique ways and help them to feel secure and confident in their characters.
You only have to look around the setting, and you will see Practitioners down at children’s height, listening to or telling stories or having in-depth conversations. Outside the adults are playing games, joining in, and being playful with the children, both the children and adults are throwing their heads back and laughing together.
Practitioners are very aware of their emotional language and use this in conversations to help children become more aware of their feelings and how to express them, furthermore, helping children to feel comfortable talking about their emotions.
We use a tall ladder to help children begin to understand the ‘butterflies in their tummy’ and how we can overcome this. Feeling nervous can be a good feeling too. When children are supported in this type of risky play by both practitioners and their peers who motivate and celebrate with them, the effects on child self-esteem are immeasurable. Children in the Strathisla Children’s Centre are involved in risky play most days which is always well planned and supported.
Covid has had an adverse effect on some children, who find it hard to regulate their emotions and this can lead to frustrations and upset. We attended emotional coaching training to give us more knowledge in supporting and guiding our children. Building close relationships with our families, allow us to understand a child and put strategies in place to support their mental wellbeing.
We have such a vital role in building resilient, happy, confident, and loved children. Children are capable of anything they put their minds and hearts to, they may just need to be reminded of how wonderful and capable they are.