As adults we all have times when things are all getting a bit much. You’ve been working (and playing) that little too hard, your to-do list is off the scale and you’re creeping dangerously close to burn out. What you need is a duvet day to recharge your batteries and give you a much-needed emotional boost.
When you’re a grown-up you’re totally within your rights to take some time off work, even if that might mean spinning the odd little white lie to your boss, but what about children? What do children do when they’re feeling a little meh.
Well one mum believes that duvet days should totally be on the cards for kids too. Rita Templeton, a mum-of-four from Ohio has revealed that she allows her sons to take “mental health days” off school when they are feeling “worn down.”
Taking to the Scary Mommy website, the parenting blogger admitted that if one of her children is showing reluctance about going to school, she will allow them to stay off and have a relaxed day at home.
Rita’s ‘mental health day’ regime stems from her own mother allowing her to stay off school once a year when she was feeling particularly worn out.
“There was never a specific date set forth for these mental health days; looking back, I think my mom just knew when I needed a break,” she wrote.
“Because kids do need breaks, just as much as grown-ups. Though their lives aren’t stressful in the same ways as ours, they still go through things that, from their inexperienced perspective, are really rough.”
Rita believes that a surprise day off can help little ones get back to feeling their best.
“I’m a firm believer in the restorative power of an unanticipated day off, which is why I’ve continued the “mental health day” tradition with my four kids,” she continues.
“When they’re worn down, a free day is just what the doctor ordered.”
Though the mum-of-four allows her sons to choose anything they want to do, she admits that usually it’s just quality time that they crave above everything else.
And it isn’t just the opportunity to take some time out of their busy schedules that Rita advocates as a benefit of the ‘mental health day’, she also hopes it will help teach her children that taking care of their mental wellbeing is important.
“I want my kids to know that there’s nothing wrong with taking care of themselves, and prioritising their mental well-being over other obligations sometimes,” she writes.
Rita says that her own mental health days form some of her happiest childhood memories, and she always looked forward to the one she was allowed every year. There was never a specific date that she was allowed to stay off school, but according to Rita her mum always seemed to know instinctively when she was in need of a break.
That’s one of the reasons psychologist Emma Kenny from Make Your Switch believes ‘mental health days’ are worth consideration.
“I believe that parents are the first line of defence in preventing burn out in their children and if that means keeping them home the odd day to ensure that they have a duvet day with time to restore energy levels, and aid mental wellness then I applaud it,” she explains.
“Children have huge pressures and often feel exhausted; knowing that a parent acknowledges how tired they are and supports their recuperation is psychologically beneficial,” she continues.
Emma believes that in the corporate world stress and burn out are the biggest reason for sick leave and often this is because people fail to look after their psychological wellbeing.
“The occasional day off restoring mental wellness will be far more beneficial than sending an exhausted and mentally frazzled child to school. It also teaches kids early on to consider their mental health with the same importance they would their physical health.”
Rita is hoping that’s a message her own children will pick-up.
“I’m hoping that through these special one-on-one days, they grow to understand that,” she explains.
“Plus another, equally important message: I love you, and I can’t wait to spend time together.”
Would you allow your children to have a ‘mental health day’? Let us know @YahooStyleUK