In 2004 The Uk's Office of National Statistics published a report into Mental Health of Children and Young People, amongst other findings the report found that
·10% of children aged 5-16 in the UK had a clinically diagnosed mental disorder: 4% had an emotional disorder, 6% had a conduct disorder, 2% had a hyperkinetic disorder, and 1% had a less common disorder such as autism, tics, etc. Some children had more than one type of disorder.
I came across the report a few years later and began to think if 10% of Children and Young People had a diagnosed mental health problem then how many more children were affected by stress and/or anxiety on a day to basis? How many had poor self esteem? It would be interesting to see how things look 10 years on. I am pretty certain it doesn't look any better and I am also certain that the statistics for Ireland would be pretty similar.
We all know the increase in mental health problems, we also know about the increase in suicides and while we can talk all day about the problems we really need to look for solutions.
I am of the belief that prevention is better than cure. If we waited until children were physically sick or over weight before we encouraged them to eat healthy food or exercise, we would have a lot of very sick children. Almost every Adult I meet suffers the negative effects of stress in one shape or form either physically or emotionally. Increasingly adults are turning to mediation , relaxation and holistic practices to help them to deal with the stress in their lives but also to bring happiness and peace to themselves and those around them. Imagine how different the lives of children and young people could be if they were able to have these skills throughout their lives. So if for every exam in school they stayed Relaxed, Calm and Confident, the same for competitions, feis' , sports, interviews, university exams, when it comes to disagreements with friends, bullying, breaking up with boyfriends/girl friends, dealing with peer pressure etc that they had high level of confidence and self esteem and that they had a resilience within themselves and positive tools that they can turn to to help to get them through.
When I was growing up aromatherapy and relaxation practices were common place at home, in fact my own earliest memory of using essential oils was whilst doing my 11+ Rosemary oil for concentration and lavender for relaxation. The common joke at home was “lavender fixes everything even computers”
I feel that these practices help me through many different life experiences, from being the only one of my peers who didn't and still doesn't drink alcohol, through school, college, the opening of my own business aged 19, bankruptcy at 22, relationships up’s & downs, grief, sadness and many other difficult life experiences.
A few years ago I began to ask myself how could I help children and parents to deal with the stresses of life and living by using the knowledge I had of Holistic Therapies and relaxation practices.
As part of this process I came across the Relax Kids program and in Sept 2012 I trained as a Relax Kids Coach.
Relax Kids uses a variety of exercises and strategies to help children including movement, games, stretching and breathing exercises, peer massage, affirmations and visualisations.
Relax Kids exercises and products are simple and easy to use. They engage younger children by using themes such as Fantasy Forest Adventure, Flying Adventures, Pirates & Mermaids, Jungle Time to name just a few. For the 8+ age group we focus on a program called Chill Skills which focuses on the same key area’s.
Regular Relax Kids classes & practices can help:
I have been running classes both privately and in schools for the past 3 years the feedback from parents and children has been fantastic. Here is what some of the parents had to say:)
My son Taylor is a 5 year old boy with ADHD. He is extremely hyperactive, has poor social skills, can not focus and struggles with anxiety.
Relax kids appealed to me as I wanted Taylor to learn techniques to help him overcome his anxiety. At the time he was becoming very upset in the morning going to school. I applied the deep breathing techniques we learnt at relax kids and together we over came this problem.
Taylor often struggles to fall asleep at night so we use the relaxation techniques, and aromatherapy oils that Joanne has suggested and we have seen a very positive change.
I was interested in the Chill Skills programme for my eldest daughter who is 11. She panics in large crowded situations and does not feel comfortable. My heart is in my mouth and still is as to how she will adapt to secondary school. I have found that as a result of completing the chill skills program she is more assertive and independent in terms of deciding what activities she wants to do and who she wants to talk to. I have learnt to stand back a little and trust her decisions.
I also sent my younger daughter age 9 to sessions because I didn't want to exclude her. I didn't think she needed had a problem mixing in larger crowds and is a lot more assertive than her big sister. It turns out that the benefits are a whole lot more than just confidence and she needed the programme more than her sister. I was amazed at the change, we have a child who perfectly fits the mould of "poor me" "middle child" syndrome. All her school reports commented that she was "sensitive" which in real English meant that she cried a lot in school as well as at home. It was frustration on her part, she had difficulties in making her self heard and understood. Also she was prone to panicking if she didn't grasp a new concept immediately. As a result she was very negative in her approach to activities. Now if I see a "poor me" stop coming on I say to her "give me a positive" and it turns her mood and mine round. She is a lot more positive in her approach and we are all much happier. School has also commented as to how well she has settled. Her approach to work activities has improved immensely and I have seen a great improvement in her school work. (update secondary school went great)
We felt relax kids would benefit our daughter as she has a tendency to be anxious & is a "bad sleeper" - on the plus side she has a vivid imagination & loves to use it in story telling & play. She has responded well to meditation & reflexology so relax kids was a natural next step. Since attending 2 sets of relax kids workshops, her sleeping has improved & she is less anxious. She thoroughly enjoys each session & looks forward to attending.