The summer holidays are in full swing. But it can sometimes feel that we spend the majority of the day battling with our children to come off of their phones and tablets which we know can lower their mood and adversely affect their mental health.
But don’t despair, there are plenty of activities out there that promote good mental health AND keep our children entertained this summer. Here are our top five.
The weather seems to be on our side this year and we are having lots of sunshine. So, top up on the all-important vitamin D, get outside, and enjoy it whilst we can. Spending even just 20-30 minutes outside can reduce stress and mental fatigue.
- Organise a trip to the beach, a walk in the park or a bike ride somewhere.
Activities in the art genre have many benefits. Participating in arts and crafts activities can reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the body. Additionally, the connection to tactile and sensory materials can also be very calming and enable self-regulation. Plus, your children’s engagement in their project will instil a sense of pride and boost self-esteem.
- Leaf printing
- Potato printing or sponge painting
- Scrap or junk modelling
- Playdough modelling (try this easy salt dough recipe)
- Pottery painting
Taking part in sporting activities releases endorphins which raise your mood and improve your self-esteem. Whether you prefer tennis, swimming, running, karate or dance, participating in some physical activity can help support your mental health.
Encourage your children to try a new sport or challenge. The feeling of success and accomplishment can be very motivating and can also help boost an individual’s self-esteem.
- Running, cycling or swimming
- Dance or gymnastics
- Martial arts or parkour
- Couch to 5k
- Climbing or kayaking
Try your hand at various dishes and get cooking and baking with your children. You’ll help develop patience (in them and you!) and support them in fostering a healthy relationship with food. As their confidence and creativity grow, they’ll feel that sense of accomplishment in what they have produced. And you’ll all get to enjoy feasting on the results too.
Get in touch
Connecting with others can be one of the most beneficial ways to improve our mental health. So, now that we can freely meet up with our nearest and dearest, dig out your diary and organise some meet-ups.
Not everyone finds it easy to connect with others, so if the thought of organising a huge family get-together or street party, sends shivers up your spine, just start small. Organise a Zoom call with someone you haven’t seen for a while or a play date with a local friend.
Take some time to drop in and see grandparents or cousins.
And if all else fails, take the opportunity to write to encourage some good old-fashioned letter writing. If they’re lucky enough to get a good reply, it’ll make them feel good for a long while as they get to read it over and over again and reply too.
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Written by Helen Bailey