Wellbeing for children (6 -12 years)

Here you'll find ideas and resources for supporting the development and emotional wellbeing of children aged 6- 12 years.

Building a circle of security for our children

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Parent and child activities

Take a look at these useful things to do with your child to help them open up and express themselves:

  • Have a box or a jar where your child can pop a note or drawing of 3 things that they have enjoyed about their day.
  • Have a separate box or jar where your child can do the same with any worries, thoughts, or feelings. You can check in regularly and talk these over with them - if they want to (be led by them, go at their pace and don't force it!)
  • Read books together that help you open up conversations on talking to others and sharing our feelings, such as Margot Sunderland's "A Niffeloo Called Nevermind: A Story for Children who Bottle Things Up" (more suggestions below!)
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Useful things that parents can do:

  • Keep a book where you can note down any changes in your child's behaviour, for example when they do or say anything unusual for them - this can help you see any patterns.
  • Keep a note of sleep patterns: if they are waking a lot, having nightmares, wetting the bed etc.
  • Keep clear, firm boundaries that are also kind and understanding.

Aim to be PACEful when communicating with your child. This means: 

- Playful – continue the enjoyment in your relationship and have fun together.
- Acceptance – not trying to change them, they are ok as they are.
- Curiosity – stay interested in their thoughts and feelings.
- Empathy – consider your child's experiences and that they may see the world as an unsafe and threatening place to be. Tune in and listen to what they are saying. Find ways to validate them and let them know that you understand.

(You can read more about Dan Hughes and the PACE approach to relationship building here)

Wellbeing for children (6 -12 years)

Breathing techniques - try them out with your children

Wellbeing for children (6 -12 years)

"Two minutes' mindfulness: balloon breaths/belly breaths - breathing exercise for children"

Rhythm, relaxation and a 'butterfly hug' for children

'Square breathing' for children - for relaxation, managing anxiety and regulating overwhelming feelings

Hand breathing Relaxation and Regulation Tool by Dr Karen Treisman

Wellbeing for children (6 -12 years)


Wellbeing for children (6 -12 years)
Some suggested reading for you and your child - recommended by our child and young person therapy service:
  • "The Huge bag of Worries" by Virginia Ironside

  • "Help! My Feelings Are Too Big! Making Sense of Yourself and the World After a Difficult Start in Life" by K.L Aspden

  • "What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety (What-To-Do-Guides for Kids)" by Dawn Huebner

  • "Help! I've Got an Alarm bell Going Off in my Head!" by K.L Aspden

  • "Starving the Anxiety Gremlin for Children Aged 5-9: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Anxiety Management" by Kate Collins-Donnelly

  • "A Nifflenoo Called Nevermind" by Margot Sunderland (and others in this series)
Wellbeing for children (6 -12 years)

Other reading

Wellbeing for children (6 -12 years)
Wellbeing for children (6 -12 years)

Local groups and services

Wellbeing for children (6 -12 years)