The theme for this year’s mental health awareness week is kindness.

Kindness (Noun): the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate; a kind act. (Oxford Dictionary)

There is a strong link between acting kindly to others and an improvement in our wellbeing and mental health.

Have you ever noticed that when you feel less stressed and you’ve made time to look after yourself and prioritise your own wellbeing that you find it easier to be generous and kind to others?

This is often an element of kindness that we can miss out. Perhaps you are a parent/carer or school leader and wondering how to navigate this most unusual time of isolation and change.

You may be thinking about how to improve mental health and lessen the impact for children and young people?

It’s not a coincidence that The Mental Health Foundation have chosen this theme this year. Whilst we may be looking to get back to some levels of normality, being generous with praise, kind acts and being patient are crucial steps in the pursuit of creating an environment which is compassionate and thoughtful.

Don’t forget your own wellbeing in the pursuit of how we help children.

The challenge we sometimes face when we are kind to others is the expectation therefore that they will be kind to us back. This is where the phrase, ‘pay it forward is helpful’ for children to understand.

Sometimes the kindness we have shown to someone will not come back directly to us from the same person, but it may come from someone else or in a way we least expect.

If we can see kindness being paid forward in this way, it reduces our levels of resentment, showing kindness no matter what.

Whatever our role, whether a parent/carer or school leader, children are taking their cues from adults on how to manage, how to behave and how to treat themselves and others.

This pandemic is so unique to all of us, and in the face of anxiety and chaos, they will look to the adults to show them the way.

So, whilst you are being kind to yourself, knowing you don’t have all the answers but are doing the best you can with the resources you have, you will increase your capacity to promote kindness and model it for others.

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