7 Ways to Boost a Child’s Wellbeing During Winter Break
Tori Seki, LCSW, Rocketship's Manager of Mental Health Providers
Holiday time during a global pandemic looks much different than what we’re used to. As we take precautions to keep our families safe, many of us aren’t gathering to celebrate with those outside of our home as we normally would. This can put a new layer of emotional strain on children as they enter winter break.
As school pauses for the holidays, children won’t be seeing their friends as often virtually and may not be carrying out traditions like they normally would. That’s why our mental health specialists put together this list of activities to help boost children’s mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing during the holiday break. Whether you’re a teacher looking to give advice to your parent community, or a parent looking ways for ways to engage your child, we encourage kiddos to try at least two of these each day!
1. Go for a mindfulness walk.
Take a walk with your child and engage in some mindfulness practice together. This could be just around the neighborhood, or through a nearby park. While you’re walking, take time to notice things around you, and prompt your child to do the same. What things do you see? What sounds do you hear? What scents do you smell? Notice how your feet feel with each step, how your body feels breathing in the air around you. By being mindful we help ground ourselves in the present moment which can help us bring more awareness to our emotions and appreciation for our experiences.
2. Practice gratitude.
Think of 3 people in your life who you are grateful for. These could be classmates, family members, friends, neighbors… whoever comes to mind. Think of what it is specifically about them that you’re grateful for. And now, take a moment to tell them! Whether through a text, email, or handwritten letter. So often we can forget to let people know the great impact they have on us. This simple exercise can bring joy not only to your day but to someone else’s too!
3. Get creative with journaling and art.
Creative expression can be a great way to exercise a different part of our brains and get out of our thought loops. There are tons of simple and fun art activities you can engage in for yourself and with your child. Don’t be afraid to get messy and try something new! Here’s a list of some activities to try, even if you don’t have any art supplies. Also, don’t forget to check out our Distance Learning Launchpad for creativity break ideas.
4. Hug those you live with.
While we’ve been socially distanced from so many people we care about this year, it’s important to still hold those who we live with. Hugs are an essential part of our overall health and wellbeing. It’s recommended that we each get at least 8 hugs every day! So make sure to give those in your home some extra hugs this winter break, both for yourself and for them!
5. Try a guided meditation.
Taking a few moments each day to engage in a meditation practice is a great way to practice self-care. Meditation allows us to tune out the world for a moment and connect with ourselves. And even if the days are long and busy, just taking 2-5 minutes to engage in a meditation can make a big difference! Check out some guided meditations on apps like Calm or Headspace, or even search on YouTube to find one you like!
6. Dance it out!
When you need to release some energy but can’t leave your home, dancing is a great way to not only get some exercise but also boost your mood while doing it! Check out these free, kid-friendly dance classes to get started. Also, don’t forget to check out our Distance Learning Launchpad for more movement break ideas.
7. Carve out time for the outdoors and open sky.
While it’s important to stay socially distanced, children and adults alike need time outside to play, exercise, and see expansive horizon lines. Allot a certain amount of each day for backyard play. If that’s not available, find a local park or hiking trail where there aren’t many people. Try going to these places during off-peak times to avoid crowds. After you’re done playing, lay out a blanket, put on some music, stare up at the sky, and find shapes in the clouds. Just ten minutes of gazing at the sky can swiftly relax your mind and help put things in perspective.
We hope these activities help you and the children in your life enjoy winter break a bit more. Take care of yourself, stay safe and happy holidays!
Published on December 4, 2020
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