Routine is an important part of children’s lives as it not only gives them a structure that they can understand it also prepares them for life as an adult. A lot of children’s routine is imposed upon them by adults and is concerned with practicalities and organisation. Where children have some control over their own routine the Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil research shows us that they prioritise fun and friendship. This is primarily because they don’t have to worry about the mundane organisation of life, but also because fun makes us feel good both physically and emotionally and that feeling of wellbeing impacts on all aspects of our life including attitudes, mental health and relationships.
Whilst it is important that children learn how to effectively organise their life for the world that they are going to live in, it is equally important that adults don’t forget the importance of having fun (in its many forms) – it’s an essential positive impact on our lives.
We all need to build a bit of fun into our everyday routines and here are my top tips:
1. Start the day with a smile – even if it is at your own reflection. For the majority of children, the first face that they see when they wake up is one that greets them with a smile. Smiling releases the feel good dopamine, endorphins and serotonin and not only does this make you feel good, but it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure!
2. Get outside – often as adults we can be distracted by our very long '"o do" list which mainly consists of jobs to do indoors. It is important to make time to get outside. Even short periods outdoors can have a positive effect on our physical and mental well-being.
3. Have a routine – children’s young lives are often very routine and they know what to expect from different times in their day. By taking a supplement at the same time each day you can help to form a routine, taking a minute to pause, come together and focus on what’s important for the day ahead.
4. Watch, listen to or read something funny – lots of the books, television programmes, apps and radio are aimed at children to make them laugh. There is a very good reason for this as laughing has a really positive impact on your mood, outlook and mental wellbeing – so try and find something funny in every day.
5. Get some exercise – children on the whole, tend to be bundles of energy and are rarely still. As well as being good for their hearts, breathing deeply causes more oxygen to enter your body which helps to keep your brain and organs functioning well.
6. Be grateful – when my children were small we used to ask them to find their "best bits of the day" even when their day hadn’t been great. Acknowledging positives, trains the brain to look for positive outcomes so make some time to reflect on the good bits.
7. Be around happy people – if children are attending any sort of play group, nursery or school they will spend most of their day with friends that they like and make them happy. Whilst as adults this is not always possible, it is important for us to make a positive effort to keep in touch (in some way, shape or form) with people who make us happy.
8. Turn off your phone, even for a little while – children do not have the distraction of a mobile phone dominating their day. The don’t feel the need to look at and respond to every alert. This freedom gives them time to think, create and relax.
9. Try to live in the moment – lots of children are lucky enough to be able to experience their day "in the moment" without the worries and responsibilities that come with adulthood. As adults we need to make a concerted effort to try not to let the worries of our future cloud our experience of now.
10. Have a moment of ‘chuffedness’ every day – there are lots of adults in children’s lives that help them to recognise and celebrate the things that they do well and enable them to feel a sense of achievement, self-worth and just be generally chuffed with themselves. If we can get into the habit of looking for things in our everyday to give us a sense of chuffedness it will positively impact on our mindset, outlook and mental wellbeing.
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