A lovely resource which may be helpful is a children's mental health book 'Under the Mask' by the author Emma Cahill. It is a free short story for children to help them understand and manage the varying emotions that arise during this anxious time. This book is a simple story of a boy in lockdown who calls the 'Superheroes' for help dealing with sadness, anger and worry at this time. It includes simple coping mechanisms for children as well as important messages about staying positive and remembering that this will not last forever. The book is available to download for free on the following website: http://www.emmacahill.ie/inside-feelings/
Children of any age can create a glitter jar. The glitter jar is a great activity to use when your child is worried, upset, nervous or angry.
All children will enjoy creating this coping strategies fortune teller which can be used to help your child select a coping strategy when they are feeling worried, upset, nervous or angry.
Stress balls are effective self-regulatory tools that help children to focus more, be attentive, listen, and be calm. Children can make their own stress balls to use when they feel stressed or upset or angry. They should use their stress ball to squeeze and release all the anxiety they are feeling inside. Teach them to ‘breathe in and squeeze, breath out and unclench’. As they are focusing on one sense and ‘blocking out’ others their sense of anger or anxiety should be released.
Help children by giving explicit directions on how to deal with stress and anxiety with these techniques.
A ‘Coping Skills Toolbox’ is a kit that you create to help your child calm down when they are upset, anxious or worried. In order to get the most benefit from this, you should create this kit before an issue occurs. When your child experiences anxiety, then they can pick out an item from their Coping Skills Toolbox.
Mindfulness can keep anxiety and stress under control and promote a happy life. There are many techniques to begin to teach children mindfulness, some popular ones are belly breathing, focusing on our five senses, watchful walks, expressing gratitude and acknowledging our emotions, It's never too early to start. With this in mind the PDST (Professional Development Service for Teachers) Primary Health and Wellbeing Team have developed a new resources which aims to support the emotional wellbeing of children. They have named this resource 'Breathe'. 'Breathe' shares some of the techniques that teachers would normally explore in class, with children in their own homes. The resource features a range of calming breathing techniques and guided visualisations. This resource, which is suitable for children (and adults!) of all ages and class levels, is accompanied by audio recordings of the guided visualisations. There are currently 25 audio clips on their website. My personal favourite is the clip labelled 'Being Happy'. This is the link below which will bring you to the website.
The Department of Education and Skills’ NEPS psychologists have developed advice and some resources for young people to manage and stay well at this time.