Understanding your child’s mental health can feel like a challenge. Is that sulking simply part of growing up? Does that shift in sleep pattern signal something more than just a developmental change? And are those tears just part of a toddler tantrum?
Getting to grips with your child’s emotional and mental wellbeing is a major issue, as new research discussed on Day Nurseries reveals.
According to a survey by children’s reading charity BookTrust, 34% of parents worry about their child’s mental health every week.
The poll of just over 4,000 parents of children aged between four and 11 revealed that the most common signs of a child being worried or anxious are:
- Angry outbursts at home (42%)
- Crying more than usual (36%)
- Problems with sleep (28%)
The research also found that 90% of parents agreed that reading with their child was a useful way of opening up important conversations.
However, despite research suggesting a strong link between reading and children’s mental health, nearly 70% of parents admitted they stopped reading to their children by the age of seven.
Speaking about the findings, Diana Gerald, chief executive of BookTrust explained the importance of reading to children from a young age.
She said: “Sharing a book is about so much more than simply reading a story together. It creates a wonderful closeness, and it’s also an opportunity to talk about the themes in the book, whether that’s separation anxiety, making friends, losing someone important or simply learning to be brave.”
The research by BookTrust was backed by national children’s mental health charity Place2Be. The charity’s chief executive, Catherine Roche said: “Using characters in books, and the situations they experience, can help start a dialogue. Reading together can help you spot worries and anxieties before they are magnified.”
Here are some tips for when you are reading with your child:
- Follow a routine: Bath, book, bed is the perfect end to your child’s day. Try to read in a room where there are no distractions.
- Talk about the pictures: Don’t just focus on the words, talk about how characters look in the images and discuss how they might be feeling.
- Keep it up: It’s never too early to start reading to your child and it’s important to keep reading with them throughout nursery, primary school and into secondary school.
Here at Little Willows, our team has taken the time to learn more about mental health needs in young children. Early identification of mental health issues among preschool aged children is on the rise and we are here to support children and their parents.
We have a member of staff who is trained to deliver wellbeing sessions, offering six weekly sessions to small groups of children helping them to work on self-esteem, wellbeing and positive relationships.
All children are encouraged to take part in these theraplay and sunshine circle groups which provide a positive message for every child. We also work collaboratively with our local authority to support children and their families who identify as needing additional support to ensure we offer the highest level of care and help for all of our families.
We want to help you help your child grow, learn and develop through reading, activities and play. If you would like to know more about how Little Willows nurseries can help your child develop, get in touch with the team today.