Ideas for whānau and tamariki
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Many whānau throughout Aotearoa are having a tough time right now - it’s totally normal to feel a bit flat, stressed or all over the place when times are tough.

Our friends at Sparklers have put together these quick go-tos that can help lift the mood, calm things down and help provide a bit more hope and perspective. Whatever the mood (and you may be feeling more than one) - we’re thinking of you and sending aroha!

When things feel stressful and frazzled!
It is totally normal for things to feel like they’re derailing sometimes.
Here are some scientifically-based and super simple activities that are sure to help with all those tense and intense feelings:

Tummy breathing - taking notice of our breathing is one of the best ways we can calm our brains and body down - it’s our amygdala that’s causing all our worry and stress, and it needs oxygen.

It’s likely your tamariki know lots about this already - Tummy Breathing and mindfulness activities are commonly practised as part of their school day. Get them to lead you through what they know, such as Tummy Breathing, Body Scan or Hikitia Te Hā.
When things are calm - deep sigh...
It’s important for our wellbeing that when we’re feeling emotions, which we might describe as ‘positive’ like calmness, joy, awe… that we notice them and try to soak in them for a bit longer than we might otherwise. So, try bathing in calmness when it comes your way.

One way to do this, and lift your mood, is to spend some time reflecting on people and things you’re grateful for. If you’re keen to try some proven wellbeing boosters as part of your every day, a super simple way to do this is to have a gratitude kōrero as part of your evening kai or your ‘goodnight’ routine with tamariki.

When we’re calm, it’s also a great time to address some of the times we’re not! Another calm, fun way to do this is with Energy Rollercoaster.
When things feel too bouncy!
Over-energised tamariki can be really fun, or really NOT fun!

Here are a few ways to take the energy levels down a notch or two:
  • Burning it off - dance, run around outside and maybe provide a little bit of focus with a ball or some chalk for hopscotch. This helps to unscramble the energy and allows tamariki to concentrate (redirect that energy)!
  • Try to bring tamariki's attention to activities that are calming - these generally involve something to do but which don’t have lots of structure - water play (an early bath or shower might do the trick), playdough, slime, mud, colouring or drawing.
  • Ride the Energy Rollercoaster - not only can it help tamariki end up in a chilled state, it enables them to reflect on, and have a kōrero about, the appropriateness of different energy levels.
When things feel totally hōhā
Aw, this is a toughy - a mix of tiredness and fed-up-ness! And during times when routines are a bit scrambly and sleep may not be your best friend, this might be a familiar feeling.

Tamariki take their cues off you, which can make for a hōhā household! So go easy - on you and the whānau. It might be that you need to take a bit of time out from each other - head to your Favourite Spaces with a book, word find, journal… something calming. Set the timer for at least 10 minutes so that everyone has a chance to re-set. Or, if you’re feeling okay, but the tamariki are not, you’ll need to move with ninja stealth to try to move kids out of the mood using:
  • Movement Head outside for a run around
  • Distraction Get the ball out and start kicking it around looking like you’re having some fun - fun is where it’s at and it won’t take long 'til they’re outside with you
  • Humour Read a joke book, do a Mexican wave or roly-poly on the lawn
  • All of the above!
When things feel overwhelming and wobbly
There’s a lot going on, even if it doesn’t look that way. Your brain has a lot to process right now, a lot of which is uncertainty and worry. Feeling a bit overwhelmed is normal right now.

Try some simple mindfulness activities to bring yourself back into the present moment (our worries are often about the future - things that haven’t even happened… weird huh?). Feel your feet on the floor, the sun or breeze on your face, notice what you can hear and smell. Just be still and notice things in the present moment.

Going outside is great to bring you into the present moment and has super wellbeing effects!

It’s also great to think about your strengths and how they can help you get through. Find Your Strengths is an activity that will walk you and your tamariki through a scientifically-based quiz that tells you your 24 strengths, in order. It means you can have these to draw upon during challenging times, and you get a wee self-esteem boost. Knowing your strengths is a great way to face challenges.
Other wellbeing pick-me-ups for any time you’re feeling anything!
Naming and owning our feelings helps us to understand them, connect with each other and lets us know we’re not alone.
Connecting with others and feeling connected are important aspects of our social needs and relate strongly to our wellbeing. Encourage tamariki to connect with their friends - in-person, if possible - or through technology.
Laughter is a great mood booster… and stress buster! Remember to have fun!
Having something to look forward to encourages us to feel hopeful and optimistic. Kōrero with your tamariki about fun things you’re planning to do next week, in the holidays or during the year!
And then you might want to make your way through: