Children’s Mental Health

This week is Children’s Mental Health Week & the theme is ‘Let’s Connect’
Personally, I’m not too sure how I feel about a ‘dedicated week’ to a theme that should underpin our everyday for the other 51 weeks of the year.
While I’ll not deny that raising awareness is important, as well as highlighting it’s seriousness to parents, but whole thing makes me uncomfortable.
My concern is that it’s only acted upon due to media propaganda, validates a ‘ticked that box’ so ‘of course we care’ kind of culture in schools/nurseries, a specific time to focus on and introduce concepts and activities to young children that they won’t be encouraged to use, or which will be forgotten about, treated as irrelevant or there’ll be no time for that, once the week is over.
I talk about connection a lot, it underpins the NPR ethos and how incredibly important it is that we look beyond the surface stuff and really see the child.
Connection has to be continuous for it to be called connection. When you choose to hold out your hand you keep it there. You can’t offer it and then take it away when your week is done. That’s harmful.
Playing with connection plays with children’s trust.
We must take into consideration, children of trauma, they don’t need tokenism. If you change the status quo because of your activities, you’re going to confuse and upset them, you’ll be tipping what they’ve come to expect from you. Especially when you know you won’t be the same next week. All that work creating a predictable environment & relationship will be undone and could have serious impact on their ability to cope and their behaviour. What do you do then? How will you connect to them when their behaviour is undesirable? Would you recognise it as insecurity?
If it brings to your attention for the first time the importance of connection, so it resonates, resulting in you changing your practice for good then that’s amazing.
But if you’re only doing it because it’s a great filler/let the adults feel good about it promo, then I’d say don’t bother.
Developing real meaningful connections is hard work and should be happening already. If you need the week to think about doing it, then you need to think about exactly what you’ve not been doing so far.
These views are my own

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