Emotional regulation and emotional resilience are key concepts to develop awareness and skills around for children of all ages, starting from the very young. Good mental health is every person’s birthright, however unfortunately in Australia our children are facing something of a crisis. Beyond Blue reports that 1 in 7 school aged children were diagnosed with a mental health condition in 2015, and this doesn’t take into account that mental health conditions are notoriously under-reported and under-diagnosed due to a pervasive social stigma around these conditions.
It’s really important for parents, carers, teachers and anyone with young people in their lives to be proactive about encouraging the development of emotional intelligence, and raising awareness around good mental health practices.
I have two children who are currently 6 and 3 years old, and unfortunately I have witnessed already (in both my own 6 year old, and some of his friends) how emotional challenges can manifest in ways that may lead to bigger issues in years to come. These early years are filled with many powerful social and emotional lessons that can leave an imprint for life, and so I am constantly seeking new resources that can help my kids stay calm and improve their emotional resilience in fun, age-appropriate ways.
My top 10 resources that I have found most helpful with my own young children are:
I’m a big fan of Headspace and have been using it myself for about 18 months, but did you know they also have a catalogue of tracks for kids? They have a selection of short meditations on a variety of topics for a range of different age groups, with titles such as “Calm”, “Cool Off”, “Kindness” and “Sleep Tight”.
There is no background music, but you can choose the length of time you want the track to run and they are very thoughtfully designed to be gentle and effective. I highly recommend Headspace for both kids and adults!
Moshi Stories and Meditations
This is a relatively new one we have discovered, and it has changed bedtimes for us. The Moshi bedtime stories are very slow and relaxing, with gentle music and singing interwoven through the stories, that lull my daughter to sleep almost every night without fail. A peaceful wind-down to sleep helps encourage a deeper rest. My son finds them relaxing but he likes to stay awake until the end to hear the whole story, then we do a meditation :-)
There are sleepy music tracks that help to set the tone as you are getting ready for bed, as well as calming meditations with titles such as “Colourful Cloud Relaxation” (my favourite), “Relax like a Cuddly Wibble” and “Rainbow Rider Relaxation”. I personally have to fight to stay awake whilst I am listening to these with the kids, they are very relaxing and well produced.
Carmen Warrington – "The Magical Forest: Meditation Adventures for children"
Carmen Warrington is one of my favourite meditation teachers/facilitators, and she has a range of wonderful CD’s for adults that I have used myself for many, many years. Her voice is so gentle, warm and nurturing. Her children’s album is extra special as she combines her creativity and calm voice with beautiful sound effects and each track explores a different aspect of nature in the form of a relaxing adventure.
Tracks have titles like “Water”, “Sky”, “Earth” and “Star”. Her colleague and musician David Jones narrates some of the tracks too which is nice if your child prefers a male voice, and he has a similarly calming voice and energy. This is one of our absolute favourite albums.
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