Hello there, February,
Times are difficult these days, we find ourselves in a pandemic that isn't ending, increased public health orders, school closures and/or delays, and unexpectedly blustery winter weather. It's not a surprise that mental health is the topic on many minds. Parents, educators and child care providers alike are feeling the strain, as it’s not always easy to navigate capacity limits and restrictions on so many parts of our lives. We encourage you to realize and acknowledge that it’s not just adults feeling the blues. Visits to children’s hospitals for mental health concerns are increasing, with some communities in Canada seeing a nearly 36% jump. Why? Psychology Today sums it up quite nicely in this article, beginning poignantly with, “We have all changed because of the pandemic. Our children are no exception.”
The Canadian Pediatric Society (CPS) has an excellent resource on its website dedicated to this topic: How to help youth tackle the blues during COVID-19 and #physicaldistancing. While the article was written in March of 2020, it still applies to our current times. Its suggestions range from the validation of feelings, using tech to keep and foster connections, and working together to practice the art of being kind to oneself. Those are steps that all of us, adults, youth or children alike, can get behind. CPS ends on a note that could do all of us a little good, too, “Take it one day at a time and look for hope in the small things. These feelings and changes in everyday life are temporary. Remember, ‘this too shall pass’.”
February is an apt month to talk about mental health, as in some places across Canada and around the world, the second week of February is dedicated to honouring Children’s Mental Health. If you’d like to do similar honouring in your practice for that week, or ongoing with the children in your lives, mindfulness is a great place to start. Why? Mindfulness is key to helping children manage stress and anxiety, and it helps foster the growth of a child’s self-regulation, positive emotions, and self-compassion. If you need suggestions as to where to start with Mindfulness, BigLifeJournal’s 5 Fun Mindfulness Activities for Kids has got you covered. And, if all else fails, use these ideas from Dawn Selander to find moments to purposely and intentionally laugh with the children in your care. It is said that laughter is the best medicine, and we here at the YMCA CCRR wish that joy for you always.
May you find light and laughter this February.
Hello there, February,