“I think it’s really important for kids to learn to start to be mindful because I see that a lot of children these days that don’t know how to be in the moment.”
Katerina Dominguez, Child Mental Health Coach at Wings Wellness Centre
Mindful colouring allows our children focus on colours and choices. This allows them to express themselves whilst reducing stress, anger and anxiety.
Studies show that colouring not only has benefits on mood but also increases mindfulness, creativity and visual attention.
Colouring in between lines may also help build your child’s focus and concentration during the school holiday period.
Nothing beats art making for nourishing a child. It literally changes brainwaves, making space for discoveries and expansion of who they are and how they perceive the world. It engages fine and sometimes gross motor skills. It is an expressive communication from inside that can be shared socially in the outside world – something to talk about. If you’re worried about mess get a water colour palette or textas. You can set limits to suit yourself and the child can feel so free making art.
Andrea Bloom, Bloom Art Therapy
This activity may be great for parents to join into as well. Studies show that adult colouring relaxes the fear centre of the brain. Colouring generates mindfulness and quietness which may have the same effect as meditating.
Studies show being outdoors has major improvements on mental health. Time outdoors can lower blood pressure, reduce stress-related hormones and assist in decreasing anxiety and depression in teens.
Time in a park allows children and teens to engage in physical activity and boosts mental health. It is a great wait to gather the family to play sports go on a walk or ride a bike. The little ones can also use the playground and tire themselves out.
Some popular parks in Sydney include Fairfield Adventure Park (designed for older kids) or Darling Harbour Children’s Playground which includes balance ropes, giant slides and tunnels, water features and more.
Popular parks in Melbourne include NRMA Halls Gap Holiday Park which has a range of facilities for kids of all ages including:
Planting a veggie or herb garden is a great way to get kids out in the garden. The fresh air, sunlight and feel of the activity are beneficial to their physical and mental growth.
Planting veggies or herbs will also introduce a sense of responsibility to kids over the holidays. They can check on the produce and do the watering when required. Your child may even feel an increase in their self-confidence as they are watching their plants grow from scratch.
Research has revealed the ‘stress hormone’ cortisone is significantly reduced in people accessing the garden.
Head over to your local nursery or Bunnings to grab seeds. If you don’t have a garden, you can plant in pots on the balcony or patio!
Baking is a creative way to reduce stress, relax and unwind. It also has a yummy outcome!
Baking is a fun way to boost mental health as it is creative and engages all the senses, allowing children to touch, taste, feel, smell and see what they are doing.
Baking is also a subtle way to engage kids thinking skills over the holidays as it encourages them to follow instructions.
Children will also use practical maths skills when assisting with measuring cups, teaspoons and tablespoons.
Once they have used their focus and attention on the baking, they can get creative on the decorating!
Social interactions are a really important aspect of school holiday activities for your child. Playdates are a great way to help children develop social problem-solving skills by dealing with conflicts.
Playdates also play a role in how children connect with others. Hosting playdates or having your child attend playdates may enhance their friendships when they return to school.
Katerina Dominguez, Child Mental Health Coach at Wings Wellness Centre, says she’s a “big advocate” for limiting time on devices during playdates.
“So many parents have friends come over and instead of having them playing and doing things, they’re on their devices, they’re not even interacting with each other. Even just being mindful and having a chat in the moment, just talking to a friend, that’s pretty much being present.”
Katerina advises parents not to worry if you have to work during the school holidays.
“For parents it’s a great opportunity to spend time with their kids if they can, but it’s about quality over quantity.
So even if you can spend a little bit of time with them, but really be there for them that’s perfect.”