This week is Children’s Mental Health Week (7th – 13th February 2022) and the theme is Growing Together.
When you think of Growing Together, what is the first idea that springs to mind?
If you said emotional growth, you were correct, as the theme Growing Together is about growing emotionally and finding ways to help each other grow. It is the perfect opportunity for adults to support children's mental health and encourage them to build their resilience and a growth mindset to overcome the challenges that come their way.
So… How can you support the amazing young people in your life to grow emotionally?
Tip #1 – Model, model, model
It may seem obvious, but it is essential that you are a positive role model for the young people in your life. Children are like sponges - they observe your words and actions (especially those that are not congruent) even when you think they are not watching.
It is important that you demonstrate emotional growth in everyday situations (e.g. persevering in the face of adversity, remaining optimistic and keeping calm during frustrating situations) and share some of the life lessons (age appropriate) that you have learnt.
Tip #2 – Encourage a growth mindset
Support young people to understand that their skills and abilities can be developed through learning and effort. In her book, Growth Mindset, Dr Carol Dweck (2007) identified two mindsets that people possess about their abilities - a fixed mindset (e.g., a belief that talent, ability and intelligence is fixed, and nothing can change this) and a growth mindset (e.g., a belief that talent, ability and intelligence can be developed through learning and effort).
Do not fall into the trap of praising outstanding outcomes only (e.g. the highest exam results, the most goals scored, etc.), instead praise outstanding effort, as this will encourage children to understand the importance of perseverance, resilience, learning and development.
Tip #3 – Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
We all know that humans are creatures of habit, who enjoy the feeling of familiarity and being comfortable. However, in order to grow emotionally, it is important to encourage the young people in your life to step outside of their comfort zone and try new activities and experiences which allow them to be stretched and challenged.
Challenge... Are you ready?
Why not participate in a new, fun activity this week and celebrate Children’s Mental Health Week and the importance of emotional growth and resilience. Remember - if you sit on the 'sidelines' in your own life, the young people who look up to you may think that it is acceptable for them to do the same.
For advice and support in relation to children's mental health, visit https://giveusashout.org/ or text CONNECT to 85258