This week is Children’s Mental Health Week 2021 and the theme is ‘Express Yourself’. We are focusing more than ever on the mental health and wellbeing of children and teenagers right now. Could journaling be one way to help them during these uncertain times?
The pandemic means times are challenging for families: balancing home-schooling, working, lack of real-life social contact and added health and financial worries. Children are missing their friends and young people are feeling more isolated than ever with the lack of freedom during lockdown.
The Prince’s Trust annual survey of young people’s happiness and confidence recently uncovered stark results – that one in four young people have felt ‘unable to cope’ in the pandemic. So what can we do to support them aside from speaking to a medical professional or therapist?
Founder of HappySelf Journal, Francesca Geens, says journaling could help children and she has also released a new teen edition of the popular book recently.
What is the HappySelf Journal?
The journal started as a way for young children (6-12 years) to develop mindfulness, gratitude and a growth mindset, then grew due to its success with a version for teenagers (12+). By daily journaling before bedtime, children and teenagers can think about what they are thankful for, promoting positivity and an attitude of gratitude. The journals are recommended by psychologists, paediatricians and teachers.
How can journaling in general help families navigate these changeable times? Here are 5 ways journaling could benefit children or teenagers.
Keeping a routine
During times of great change and uncertainty, having a good routine is essential. Building journaling into the day after study or as a wind-down activity before bed could be a good way for children and teenagers to process daily challenges, feelings and restore calm.
An attitude of gratitude
Many studies link happiness and gratitude such as this TEDx one by Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar, who suggests that happiness is born from gratitude. Through journaling, we highlight what we are grateful for and what we need to appreciate.
Reflection for self-awareness
Having time to reflect and download some of our thoughts at bedtime can help to untangle the mind after a busy day and build perspective and self-awareness. It’s also very soothing and that might help us all sleep better.
Maintaining balance and reducing online time
With classes and social contact all moving online, it’s important to manage the time spent on the computer and devices and allow for more offline time. Making sure there are solid boundaries in place for online usage and those daily activities are balanced, are just two ways that could help.
Make sure to get advice from a medical professional if you have any serious concerns about your child’s wellbeing. For further information check the NHS website.
Contact us at VQ Together if you would like to know more about the mental health and wellbeing services we offer – we can support you with a free 15-minute consultation, where we can discuss our range of therapies.