Mind Kind, 1st June 2019
The #MindKind event was fantastic! More than 100 children attend on the day, having the opportunity to discuss the various elements that go into helping maintain mental well-being with several professionals from many different within Gibraltar. Social Services, Autism Support, Youth Services, GHA, Supernatural, Childline, PACs and teachers from St Bernards School are just a few of those who participated. Here are some of the activities offered with some explanation as to how they are “Mind Kind”:
A pet can be a great source of comfort, companionship and motivation for their owners. Several pieces of research over the years highlight that pets are instrumental in child development and positive mental health. Growing up with pets has been linked to higher self-esteem, cognitive development and social skills.
Some pet owners claim that their pets force them to stay connected with the outside world and engage in physical activity. Dogs in particular have been found to encourage social interaction and strengthen community ties. Studies reveal that having a pet offers people a deep sense of stability, continuity, and meaning in one’s life; also allaying anxiety and stress.
Animal-assisted therapy is a growing field that uses dogs or other animals to help people recover from or better cope with health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and mental health disorders.
Read More: here
Dance and Movement
Young children are naturally active; dance and movement allows them to become more aware of their bodies through movement. This fun activity also improves co-ordination, strength and endurance simultaneously creating a solid platform for children’s physical development and fitness.
Activities that involve dance are instrumental in contributing to a child’s confidence, socialisation, and cognitive development
Expression of one’s self through dance and movement offers a safe opportunity for exploration and building of effective relationships.
Read More: here
Drama therapy uses a variety of skills and props to establish a therapeutic relationship between therapist and client.
Dramatherapists often work with individuals and groups who may have experienced some form of trauma either in childhood or as adults. Trauma may be the result of physical, emotional, psychological or institutional abuse: assault, combat, war, accident, criminal activity, birth and bereavement.
Dramatherapy mainly focuses on drama and theatre as the therapeutic process. It is a method of working and playing that uses action methods to facilitate creativity, imagination, learning, insight and growth. Dramatherapists draw on their training in theatre/drama and therapy to create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social changes. This form of therapy gives equal validity to body and mind within the dramatic context; stories, plays, puppetry, masks and improvisation are some examples of the range of artistic interventions that may be used. These modalities will enable the client to explore difficult and painful life experiences through an indirect approach.
Read More: here
Grow your own
Gardening can provide an extremely positive experience for children; studies have shown benefits to self-esteem, performance at school and a reduction in stress levels. For some, the sensory experience is enjoyable- getting dirty, handling seeds, enjoying the tactile changes in soil when wet. But the majority of children will learn responsibility, by feeding and caring for their plant, whilst also understanding patience as they watch their flowers grow.
Growing your own food has additional benefits! You can produce your own nutritious edibles, saving money and helping the environment. Children have also been found to develop a greater interest in healthy eating. There is also a sense of personal achievement and pride, especially when using the foods they have grown in a healthy home-cooked meal!
- Easy flowers to grow from seed include sunflowers, sweet peas and marigolds.
- Sensory plants that children enjoy playing with include poppies (rattling the seed heads), Lamb’s ear/ Stachys byzantina (feeling the furry texture), and smelly plants such as Lemon balm/ Melissa officinalis and Lavender.
- Simple and tasty edible plants include spinach, radish, peppers and runner beans.
For a fun website with more facts click: here
The Alameda Gardening Club is a worthwhile contact to have, they are highly sought out and usually have a waiting list, but you can find out more by contacting them directly email@example.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Yoga is proven to be a useful tool that positively affects health, regardless of age. Children obtain multiple benefits such as:
- The ability to deal with stress and anxiety though breathing exercises, movement and meditation
- Improved concentration and self-awareness
- Increased physical strength, flexibility, balance and co-ordination
- Providing a sense of belonging, in a non-competitive group that draws on both individual and shared strengths
Yoga has been seen to be particularly helpful for children with special needs. Mindfulness and yoga have been introduced to various schools in Gibraltar, but if you’d like more information on child yoga contact: Integral Yoga Centre Gibraltar
Chess, perhaps once regarded as a game for purely intellectuals, is now regarded as a great mental work out for everyone. Research shows it can improve fine motor skills for individuals with disabilities, it can reduce symptoms of anxiety, and help prevent memory deterioration in conditions such as Alzheimer’s. Children can also benefit from:
- Increased problem-solving skills
- Exercise of both sides of the brain
- A comfortable social setting and conversation
- Deep concentration
- Brain growth (stimulated by overcoming challenges)
For more information and details of classes available in Gibraltar, contact the president of the Chess Association: Sharon Whatley