Modern day life is busy. We work, run homes, have families, run business, exercise, have hobbies, play taxi and so much more.
We are addicted to mobile devices and have a constant fear of missing out!
If it feels like that for us, have you stopped to think about how it might feel for children and how it affects our kids mental health?
We would like to believe that children are left to be children, wild, free and without a care in the world. Unfortunately, that’s not true.
On a daily basis our children are worried about friendships, whether or not they will be told off or praised, what to wear, how to look, how to act, what to say, what is “right” and what is “wrong”.
So many thoughts and feelings!
When children have all of these thoughts and feelings rushing around in their heads, how do we (adults, parents, carers etc) know? Well, we see the way they behave and we tend to judge them on that and not think about our kids mental health.
The classic naughty behaviour, over excitedness, tantrums, the list goes on – we judge them on this and decide whether to tell them off, put them on the naughty step or tell them to calm down and have 5 minutes out.
Now I am not saying that these are not valid techniques and believe me, I do at least three of these a day!
What I am trying to do more of, is stop and think, be curious and wonder what it is that is causing this behaviour.
When my son Eddie was 5, we noticed more “bad behaviour” than normal and I was desperate to get the tantrums under control.
Honestly, I thought we had left those behind with the terrible two’s but apparently not.
By some miracle, Professor Steve Peters released a new book at around the same time, My Hidden Chimp.
The book uses the same theory as the Chimp Paradox but explains it to children.
The Chimp Paradox was a theory I had used with adults for a number of years as a Trainer and now I had a way to introduce this to my son.
Very basically, we have different parts of our brains that look after different aspects, our thinking (cognitive) and our emotions and flight or fight (mammalian).
In that mammalian part of our brain we can find our chimp. Our chimp can take over when we feel a strong emotion and before the cognitive bit of our brain can jump in with some rational thought, it’s too late, the chimp is out of the box, running around and causing all sorts of chaos!
So, I introduced this concept to Eddie and he thought it was hilarious! I didn’t think it would work but I thought it would be fun talking to him about it anyway.
That night Eddie had a major tantrum before bed and as a last resorted I asked him if his naughty monkey was out of his box.
After thinking for a while, he said he was and his monkey needed a hug.
The tears had stopped, the shouting and screaming had stopped, he was focussed on his monkey and the need for a hug……. so I hugged him…. and he went to bed straight away, as if nothing had ever happened.
Cue the silent happy dance on the landing – making sure he couldn’t hear me as I first pumped the air!
This was the beginning of a very exciting journey, as it was the catalyst for me to create the Banana Brains programme.
A programme designed to help parents, carers, teachers, ELSAs and children to:
- Explore where emotions come from and how they impact behaviour
- Identify ways in which we can support children with becoming more aware of their communication preferences and emotional reactions
- Discover how to empower children to make informed decisions about how they behave
- Create a plan for introducing Healthy Habits into daily routines
Our children are our future!
Based on alarming statistics and recognition that modern life requires increased resilience, the Government have announced that as of 2020, all children in England should be taught how to look after their mental well-being and recognise when classmates may be struggling, the Banana Brains programme supports this positive
The programme can be delivered to primary schools, supported my interactive story bags and is available to parents / carers as an online course – launching in June 2020!
The online course gives parents / carers access to five bite-sized training videos and three downloadable activities to complete with their children as well stories to listen to.
You can register your interest here to make sure you are kept in the loop with launch information and to help your kids mental health:
70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem have
not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.
We owe it our children to support and nurture their mental and emotional health.
**Empowering children to embrace emotions**
By Sarah Bourne, Director at Shades of You
and creator of Banana Brains
Both of Sarah’s businesses offer discount as part of My VIP Card , for more information on Employee , Member and Customer rewards visit myvipcard.co.uk