Children’s Mental Health Week is an opportunity to talk about and promote mental wellbeing for children. This year, the theme is my voice matters, helping to give children and young people the tools they need to express themselves.

Today, we want to share an activity with you which can help children use their voice, even through challenging times, and tell you more about how play is used as a way of promoting children’s mental wellbeing at Tŷ Hafan.

Sophie says…Sophie, a Play Therapy Assistant at Ty Hafan, explains: “Sometimes children want to talk to the adults in their lives about something important, but they’re not sure of the words to use or are worried about the reaction they will get.

“Sometimes caregivers would like to encourage children to ask big questions, but aren’t always sure that they’ll be readily equipped with an answer to these questions. That’s why communication jars work so well.”

Making a communication jar

Communication Jar at Ty Hafan

The idea of a communication jar is that that you jointly decorate a box together and agree on a regular time for you to look at the box together, whether that’s once a week, a few times a week or whenever works best for you and the child you’re caring for.

The child can write down their worries or concerns and put them in the jar, knowing that they will be discussed at a set time. Plus, parents or guardians will know that they have time to look at these worries and questions and give themselves the space to find the answers.

Children’s mental wellbeing

Children’s mental wellbeing is a crucial part of our work and one of the ways we promote wellbeing for children is through play.

Play is a child’s natural form of communication and, at Tŷ Hafan, we provide different types of play to help children cope with their emotions, express their feelings and simply enjoy play with a focus on what each individual child is able to do.

Anna Boywer Senior Play Therapist at Ty Hafan

Anna, a Senior Play Therapist at Tŷ Hafan, explains how play is used at Tŷ Hafan to promote children’s mental wellbeing.

Therapeutic play

Therapeutic Play is used to enhance child’s wellbeing. Our Therapeutic Play Practitioners provide sensory play to help make sure that, however the child communicates in the world, their play is tailored to their preferences and abilities.

Healthcare Play Specialist play

This type of play, delivered by Sarah, our Play Specialist, centres around medical treatments, such as preparing a child for a medical procedure or distracting them during a medical procedure. The purpose is to make necessary but difficult medical treatments go as smoothly as they can.

Play Therapy

Play Therapy is a type of child-friendly psychotherapy which is used to address difficult emotions, life changes and traumas. It uses play as communication and helps children process what has happened to them and live their best possible life following therapy.

Read about Play Therapy at Tŷ Hafan in much more detail by clicking here.

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Your generosity means that children in Wales with life-shortening conditions have the opportunity to enjoy inclusive play, express themselves and explore their emotions in a healthy, age-appropriate way, often after facing unimaginable challenges. Thank you.