Dr Hazel Harrison has been collaborating with Unmind since just after we launched. We thought we'd catch up with Hazel to find out a little bit about her and her most recent Unmind Series, "Getting Gritty"...
Children’s Mental Health Week is still under way, so we asked Dr Hazel Harrison, the creator of Unmind's 'Positive Parenting' series, for some more tips to help boost wellbeing in children.
Many of us know how to look after our physical health - teeth brushing, healthy eating, getting good sleep and exercising - but we may be less familiar with the proactive steps we can take to help look after our mental health. Over the next few days, we'll look at some evidence-based tips, taken from the Positive Psychology toolkit, which any parent, grandparent, carer, teacher - or anyone else who cares for children and young people - should find useful.
Kindness is a win-win for wellbeing. The research shows us that when we’re kind to others, we not only boost each recipient’s wellbeing - it tends to have the same effect on our own wellness too. Being kind can help us connect with others, and our relationships play a crucial role in our mental health and wellbeing in the long term.
There are hundreds of ways children and adults can show kindness - every day. And it can be fun to sometimes turn these acts into larger events, to really emphasise their importance and value.
Younger children often love pretending to be superheroes, from WonderWoman to SpiderMan. So they’re also likely to enjoy wearing an imaginary ‘kindness cape’ and working with adults and peers to do superhero acts of kindness. These could be at school, at home or in the community. You can use these opportunities to talk about why it’s important to be kind - to others and to ourselves.
Encourage children to consider donating toys or clothes they’ve outgrown to a charity shop. Involve them in the process, right from choosing what to give through to taking it to the charity shop. Talk to them about how they’re helping others due to the charity’s work, and helping the planet by recycling rather than adding to landfill.
For older children, connecting kindness to something they’re passionate about can be a great way to get them involved with their community and boost their wellbeing. They can do this through organisations like Step Up To Serve, which aims to get young people involved in social action opportunities in the community.
Feel free to share with us how any of these wellbeing acts are working for you and your children.
If you want to find out more about how to get your children involved with Step Up To Serve, find their website here.
You can find out more about Dr Hazel Harrison and the initial campaign we're sharing again over this week on her website.