The term wellbeing is used a lot when discussing adults and adolescents but very rarely do we hear the term used when referring to young children, or children within the ‘early years’ setting.
With rates of teenage mental health issues increasing however, is it now time to look at supporting the younger child’s wellbeing, in order to give them a much better start in life?
Of course, one of the main ways to help a young child’s wellbeing is simply to let them know that they’re loved. Showing them that their uniqueness, their individuality is what makes them so special, will do more than most realise.
For children within the early years category however, there are other ways to help their wellbeing, aside from letting them know that they’re loved unconditionally.
There has been extensive research that shows playing outside can have incredible advantages for a child’s health and wellbeing, particularly in playgrounds. In fact, playground equipment itself has been shown to have amazing benefits in both a physical and mental sense.
Not only do climbing frames and sandpits help with physical health such as coordination, strength and fine motor skills but it also allows a child to utilise their creativity, enjoy role play and hone their social skills with other children their age.
This has a huge benefit on their mental wellbeing, teaching them how to interact with other children outside of their family setting. It also gives them time to relax and unwind from what can often be demanding academic pressures, even at early ages.
Playgrounds can be planned to incorporate inclusive play zones that don’t just allow a child to utilise their imagination but actively encourage socialisation and it’s this that can really make a playground a haven for young minds and their development.
It’s not only important for young children to interact with others but to understand their feelings too and using emotional language is a great way to do that. It introduces emotional language into their vocabulary at a young age, while allowing them to understand not only their own feelings but the feelings of others too.
It shows them that their feelings are important, even if they aren’t necessarily happy feelings. Express that it’s ok to be sad, upset etc.
Life for many is filled with the daily rush, from work to house chores and just about everything else that seems to stop us from taking the time to relax.
Not only does this often stop us from spending a more relaxed time with our children but it can often make their lives feel rushed too.
It’s important that we encourage our children to relax and rest with playground furniture, experiencing moments of stillness. A great way to do this is to provide areas where they can sit and be still, or better yet, lay back, relax and day dream.
Whether it’s a case of introducing a seating area within your nursery’s playground or a corner within the classroom to rest and be still; it’s important to remind children to slow down and stop rushing.
Giving children the space to be creative is an excellent way to promote creativity. Joining in with them is an even better way. Finding time to encourage role play through playground equipment or simply finding time to sing and dance can be a truly happy experience for child and adult and one that should be actively encouraged at a young age.
Allowing children to experiment through their imagination is a great way of letting them have fun in down time. It gives their minds rest from academic demands and instead lets children, rather simply, be children.
Here at Sovereign Early Years, we’ve been manufacturing high quality playground equipment for many years and during that time, have truly discovered the importance of play, when it comes to the health and wellbeing of young children in their developing years.