Have you ever heard of mental health days? If you haven’t, it is time to familiarize yourself with it. It could be a practice that you and your kids need to feel refreshed and excited about the days, especially since this year is coming to a close.
A mental health day is simply a day someone takes to recharge from work or school. It is like a self-imposed weekend or day off.
The concept is growing in popularity today, especially since many students have experienced “Zoom fatigue” due to increased screen time once distance learning was implemented. It is also helping eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness, making young people feel seen and heard amidst the new struggles they are facing.
Now that you know what mental health days are, you may be wondering how to approach it with your kids. We have some great ideas for making these breaks meaningful and enjoyable for your children.
Fun Activities for Your Child’s Mental Health Day
The fun part about mental health days is that there are no rules for having them. You can focus on several things that can take care of your child mentally. But if you are at a loss, these are some ways you can prioritize your child’s well-being.
Let kids do activities that teach them mindfulness
Your kids may need a mental health day when they feel overwhelmed about what they have to do at school. Let them take a break with mindfulness activities. Mindfulness interrupts the usual fast pace of their days and allows them to appreciate the moment as it is happening.
One way to do this is by having them play games that require the use of their hands. For example, parents usually use developmental toys for four-year-olds to supplement a child’s lessons in school, but they can also teach mindfulness. Allow your child to pay attention to the appearances and textures of each part and ask questions to help them notice the uniqueness of each item.
These kinds of activities engage their various senses and help them pay attention to the whole process of creating something and not just on the results.
Get some fresh air and spend time outdoors
Are your kids spending too much time in front of a computer, whether for school or playtime? Easy—give them a change of scenery by taking a walk among the natural wonders of nature.
Too much screen time limits your child, as their activities are contained within a monitor. When they go outdoors, your child has freer rein on what they want to look at, play with, and go to. This kind of freedom is something they need so that they can grow more confident about themselves and more comfortable in different situations.
Remember, time outdoors is more than just about getting fresh air! It is also about helping your kids discover the wonderful world around them.
Do an activity that calms your child
Some kids often get anxious about going to school and doing the different assignments the teacher assigns to them. When your child feels some struggle with coping with the things they have to do, a mental health day is an excellent opportunity to just let them do something peaceful.
Your child is likely exhausted from the stress of school, so why not give them a day dedicated to just making sure they are relaxed and calm? If your child has an inclination to the arts, let them spend the day painting or drawing. You can either give them prompts about what they can draw or allow their imaginations to run wild and see the results.
Another is to sit down and listen to music together. Music is an effective mood booster and an interesting method of creating a stronger bond with your child.
You can alternate between their favorite songs and the songs you want to introduce to them. You’ll never know; your child may even enjoy some of the older songs on your playlist!
Are Mental Health Days Always a Good Idea?
When your child has been having a rough time at school, and you see them feeling exhausted, mental health days can give them the rest they need. Still, you have to set healthy limits on these breaks so that they do not end up simply avoiding their responsibilities.
Strike a balance between rest and work, and keep an open line of communication with your child to figure out the best ways to have their mental health days.