CHALK Preschool
CHALK Preschool

Mental Health Reset For Your Little One

3 simple activities to hit the reset button, connect, and relax!

May 1, 2024

By CHALK Preschool Admin

Mental Health 

It is heartening to see that in recent times, mental health has become a more openly discussed topic. But hey, we’re not here to add to your stress levels about raising kids. We’re here to simply highlight the importance of being aware and encourage you to remember to “slow down” with your child. In our fast-paced world with nagging instant gratification, blurred lines between work and life, and the pressure to parent perfectly it can be overwhelming. Nevertheless, spending a small amount of uninterrupted, unscripted, time with no expectations is enough for a preschooler (and even a teen!) to feel heard, practice independence, make good decisions, or even fail without fear. When kids have these positive experiences, it helps them develop the skills they need to stay mentally healthy. You’ll be surprised with the results, and if you continue to share relaxed and unhurried time as they grow, your child will know they can trust you to be a steady and safe place for them to open up to. 

Per the CDC: Being mentally healthy during childhood means reaching developmental and emotional milestones and learning healthy social skills and how to cope when there are problems. Mentally healthy children have a positive quality of life and can function well at home, in school, and in their communities.

Setting the stage for a successful time together

Put your phone on mute in another room, do not use this time to take photos and post to socials. It models a behavior that celebrates respect and being present while not being distracted with immediate gratification. It will also be advantageous when you request they be present with you as your little one grows.

Maybe just start with 15 minutes…set a timer and continue to talk them through the time they have left so that transitioning out of the activity is less jarring to them. 

Play without goals or tangible results, If you just sit with them that’s good enough.

Refrain from directing or suggesting things to do, instead ask them what you could do with the items and materials you’ve supplied. Better yet, let them play and you mimic them. Learn from them. But mostly just be, being quiet and present has so much power. You are saying to them…”I love you, I love spending time with you, you are important to me, I believe in you, I trust you.”

3 simple activities

Compare these activities to a day at the beach playing in the sand. Open-ended, digging, moving, dumping, squishing, tactile messing about with basic materials and tools. These activities are great because they offer sensory stimulation and resemble activities they see adults performing.

Suggested Tools: measuring cups, shovels, buckets, spoons, spatulas, bowls, sticks, colander… 

  1. Immersive Bubbles: In a sink, a bucket, or the bathtub. Filler up! the more bubbles the better.
  2. Dig In The Dirt: In a cardboard box or just outside in the corner of the yard or at the park!
  3. No Rules Baking: Flour, sugar, salt, water, rice, and whatever else is in the cabinet. Mix it up, squish it between your fingers, and taste test if you dare!

This is a practice of respect, being in the moment, enjoying the process, having control, feeling independent, and building self-esteem. In later years, activities like these are great moments to allow adolescents and teens space to talk about what’s going on without the uncomfortable interrogation-style questions that don’t usually produce much intel. 

Aside from these 3 examples, Any kind of playtime helps children be creative, and learn problem-solving skills, and self-control. These are significant developmental and emotional milestones and essential social skills to set them up for future success. The other factor in this equation is that children need to spend time with their peers in order to practice these skills. Children discover their strengths and weaknesses, develop a sense of belonging, and learn how to get along with others during group activities. Consider finding a program in your neighborhood, local community center, school, or local parks and recreation department. 

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