National charity YoungMinds has today [16 November] launched #Take20 in the hope that it will help mums and dads tackle conversations that can sometimes be difficult to initiate.
The campaign encourages parents to talk to their children while doing something that they both enjoy, as being in a relaxed space can help kids open up about difficult topics.
The charity has created an online hub with resources, guidance and advice on how to navigate these “informal bonding moments”.
“Every parent wants to know what’s going on in their child’s life and be the first person to hear any news - good or bad,” said Jo Hardy, head of parent services at YoungMinds.
“But when it comes to talking about mental health, starting that conversation can be really hard.”
Hardy continued: “That’s why we’ve launched #Take20, which offers advice, tips and guidance from our Parents Helpline about how to talk to your children about difficult topics, and how to handle it if you suspect that they’re going through a challenging time.
“While many parents do an incredible job supporting their children, it isn’t always easy for children to tell their parents if there are problems at school, on social media or in their relationships with friends.”
5 activities you could do with your child while talking to them:
Build a fort.
Add your own toppings to pizza.
Go on a picnic.
Draw cartoons of each other.
Teach one another your favourite dance move.
Hardy said by carving out 20 minutes a week to do an activity which allows parents to stay involved with their child on a regular basis.
This means when children may be struggling, they may be more confident to speak to their parents about how they are feeling and will have more opportunity to do so.
5 questions parents can ask to encourage their children to open up:
‘What was the best and worst bit of your day?’
‘What did you do today that you are most proud of?’
‘What’s your favourite thing about school and why?’
‘What do you want to talk about?’
‘If you could start today again, what would you do differently?’
To help parents start that conversation, the charity has suggested 20 activities mums and dads could try in the 20 minutes, as well as advice on encouraging their children to open up.
According to the charity, one in ten children have a diagnosable mental health disorder – that’s roughly three children in every classroom.
3 encouraging phrases parents can use when talking to their children:
‘I love you, nothing can ever change that.’
‘If you need to talk to someone else, that’s okay too.’
‘We’re going to get through this together.’
#Take20 has been created with agencies including Undercurrent, Content OD, Coull and RPM as part of The Drum’s Do It Day marketing challenge.
For more information on #Take20, including ideas, advice and resources for talking to children about their mental health, visit www.youngminds.org.uk/take20.