We think about helping kids with their mental health as a bit like going into space… You need some knowledge, some training, some great tools to help you on your journey, and ways to communicate with people that can support you. With those things in place, kids can safely go to amazing places, and they can deal with big and small challenges they’ll inevitably meet along the way.
Beyond our cosmic space analogy, Kids’ mental health is obviously a broad, complex and important subject, especially in the wake of the pandemic. We’re not clinical experts, but we do spend a lot of time thinking about how Cosmic Kids can help and what we can put out into the world to support amazing parents, teachers, and therapists who help kids on this front every day. In these blog posts we share our Thinking Behind the Fun to give you some more context to our films, and to help you to use them to best effect with kids.
Mental Health Muscles
In our films focused on mental health, Jaime creates characters and narratives and tools that actively help kids’ to build up 6 Mental Health Muscles. These Muscles are what we think kids need to be resilient in their mental health. As we often do at Cosmic Kids we’ve borrowed from lots of different approaches and philosophies, made them fun and sticky for kids, and curated what we think is a really holistic and practical approach to kids’ mental health that they will enjoy. Our 6 Mental Health Muscles are…
Noticing what stress, anxiety or other highs and lows feel like in their minds and bodies, so they can spot it as it begins to affect them.
Building the mindset they need for good mental health, and making mindfulness a regular thing they do.
Tooling-up with practical techniques that help them respond to challenges when they meet them.
Reaching out to people that can help them when they are struggling to cope.
Receiving love and reassurance that they are amazing and deserving of good things
Giving love out into the world to contribute and connect to a wider sense of peace.
How to build those Muscles...
While loads of our films have a mental health angle, the films in our Mental Health Playlistreally focus on the 6 Muscles…
Pip the Eaglet develops the ability to notice fear when she’s learning to fly, and she practices stepping into and out of it.
On Red Nose Island we build our day to day mindfulness technique and practice.
In How to Make Choices we use the classic traffic light tool to stop, avoid the red mist, and process things positively.
In Magic Treehouse we learn to reach out to share our worries with a grown-up.
In Treasure Box we learn to acknowledge and receive thelove that exists for us, and use it as a source of strength.
And in Friendly Wishes, we take on that meta task of sending love out into the world (even to those people we’re not that keen on!).
It’s tempting to think of the ‘muscles’ and the films in a sequence, but we know kids are brilliantly different and not that linear in the way they grow. The real-life approach is just to focus on those areas kids most connect with at any given time, and gradually (and continually) help them build the full set. In our experience, some kids will naturally want to absorb Jaime’s lovely characters and narratives that explain a mental health concept. Others will gravitate to concrete techniques that they can practice and do and feel the benefits immediately. Some will prefer the inward facing ideas. Others will enjoy looking out into the world. It’s all good.
What we think resilience means for kids in practice
It’s our hope that these films, and the 6 Muscles, build kids’ resilience to do three things:
Meet the big moments of upheaval or change or trauma that might emerge in their immediate lives;
Cope with the heavy background stuff from the wider world like Covid or Climate Change or conflict that can weigh on some kids;
And of course, of equal importance... Just get through the day to day ups and downs of being a kid so they can enjoy life and have fun.
Support for Mental Health in the wider Cosmic Kids library
It’s not just those 9 films in our Mental Health Playlist Cosmic Kids that focus on mental health. We’re most famous for our yoga, but smuggled into all the fun of those Yoga Adventures are buckets full of mindfulness specifically designed to help kids be mentally healthy. Plus, we’ve created dozens of Zen Dens and Peace Out films that are entirely focused on helping kids build their own Mental Health Toolkit. In these series we help kids engage with a wider range of big, powerful emotions that children watching Cosmic Kids are just beginning to recognise. It can be really effective for adults to watch these films with kids. This gives you a shared language around mental health and the approaches your kids might use when things get a bit heated, or sad, or overwhelming.
As much as we believe in the power of our films, we’re obviously only a part of the solution when it comes to mental health. If you are at all worried about your child’s mental health please always seek support from your doctor or other trained professionals.
We passionately believe all kids need and deserve access to tools that can help them with the mental health. That's why we make the majority of our films free to access on YouTube. The only way we can do that, is with the support and generosity of people who subscribe to the Cosmic Kids App. It's also the only place to watch every Cosmic Kids film we've ever made, ad-free!
I'm James, our Head of Impact. I help us understand the impact of our films for kids, parents and teachers, and I work with brilliant partners to share our films with cosmic kids who live with additional challenges.
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