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Play, move, mental health and stormbreak!

Clare Williams; stormbreak mental health lead.

When children play their faces light up, they disappear into wonderful worlds, they find places to discover new things and learn about themselves and others. Play is a vital part of healthy child development where children share time and engage in physical and emotional experiences together. This is enhanced through movement in shared and reciprocal interactions. Creating environments that support and nurture play and empower children to play is a really important way to support children’s emotional, mental and physical health.

There is a wealth of research that highlights the impact of play and playfulness on:

  • strengthening relational connection
  • developing life and communication skills
  • reducing worry, stress and anxiety.

At stormbreak we believe that children who are encouraged, supported and enabled to engage in the world through movement, play and connection with their trusted adults and peers have greater awareness of and access to supporting mental health, and this is essential for their life-long mental health and wellbeing.

As trusted adults we can embody play and playfulness through our tone, through playfulness in our voice, in our facial expressions, our body language and our relational connections with children so that we share in joy, delight and fun.

Grown ups should not be fearful of being playful.

At stormbreak we believe that;

  • Children are happier and healthier when they move
  • Children, their peers, and their trusted adults are happier and healthier when they interact together through movement
  • Movement can be fun, playful and reciprocal
  • Movement improves children’s wellbeing and provides vital opportunities for them to develop emotional and physical life skills.

The combination of play through movement and shared interaction is vital for stormbreak in providing opportunities for conversations about feelings and responses to everyday situations. It provides opportunity to talk and share ideas and thoughts about the stormbreak mental health concepts of resilience, relationships, self-worth, self-care and hope. We know this allows children to feel heard and validated in their experience of the world, and enables them to be open in the expression of feelings and their awareness of their own mental health.

It’s knowing we matter within our relationships with ourselves and others through movement, playfulness and connection that we provide our children with the foundation for living life to the full and being physically and emotionally well.

For more information about stormbreak see www.stormbreak.org.uk

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