The idea of "mental health days" was around when I was working, but we said it as a kind of joke, when we'd pull a sicky. Actually I now believe that prevention is sometimes better than a cure.
I tell the kids, they get one "pass" each Term for a day at home with mummy.
For the schoolboy it's not a free pass to play and watch TV, oh no.
We spend some time together working on school stuff; I get him reading and writing me stories, working on his handwriting, spelling. Sometimes we do baking together or go to the shops to pick up things he needs but mostly it's just a day where he can catch his breath.
Yesterday was a bit tough for him; he is finding the schooldays so long and the nights are still so light and warm, it's hard for him to get sleep. On Mondays he has soccer club so it's particularly gruelling after the weekend where nights tend to be later anyway.
Then there's the fact that he's been around people in a noisy stimulating environment for 8 hours, on the go.
Dash is a bit of an introvert. In the book "Raising Your Spirited Child", Mary Kurcinka explains what Introverts and Extroverts really are: its all about where you get your emotional energy from.
Introverts get their emotional energy from being by themselves. If there are in crowds of people for too long they will become drained and then unable to cope with challenges or disappointments; this can often lead to tantrums or bad behaviour in kids (and adults!)
Extroverts, on the other hand, get their energy from other people. They become emotionally drained if they have to spend too long by themselves without the company of others to energise them. When extroverts have to spend too long on their own they become like caged lions: accidents just waiting to happen. Princess is one of these types of kids. Her behaviour deteriorates if she doesn't get a good dose of social contact every day.
I recognised what was happening and guessed the cause. Sure enough, I was right; and what Dash needed was some alone time and a little bit of TLC to calm him down.
I helped him into bed, turned on a favourite soccer DVD and pampered him a little with a snack on a tray brought to his room. Then I exited, reassuring him that his coach wasn't overlooking his efforts, and left him to have some "space".
About 20 minutes later I heard the familiar sound of the ball being kicked in the garden and the endless soccer commentary... "Yes! What a finish! It's a great goal for Stephen Taylor of Newcastle...!"
Ahhh, my little introvert had recharged his batteries and was now back on top of the world.
And a mental health day can only help as well - he's used up his one for this Term, I keep reminding him. Tomorrow it'll be back to school, but hopefully with a bit more emotional fuel in the tank!
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I'm an introvert too. How about you: Do you do "mental health days"? Are you an introvert or extrovert? How do you get energised? What about your kids? Love to hear your thoughts...