WE all need a break now and then, don’t we? Whether it’s five minutes for a cup of tea or half an hour for a breath of fresh air, taking a little time to yourself can help recharge your batteries.

Taking time to indulge in a little play, whether goofing around with your kids, enjoying a board game or mucking about in the garden can improve mental wellbeing. This Childhood Day it could make a real difference to children’s lives too.

Childhood Day, on June 10, is the NSPCC’s flagship fundraising event, when people are encouraged to embrace their inner child, celebrating play to put the ‘fun’ into fundraising. Children in schools and nurseries will come together to raise funds for our services in what we call The Big Breaktime. This is an extra hour of play organised whenever it suits the school or nursery with pupils, staff and parents encouraged to give a small donation towards NSPCC projects. Projects which benefit include Childline, and the NSPCC’s Speak Out Stay Safe programme.

Speak Out Stay Safe is an age-appropriate assembly for primary schools to give children knowledge and confidence to recognise abuse and speak to trusted adults or Childline about anything that worries them. More than 5,600 of the 200,000 children who contacted Childline in 2020/21 with mental health concerns were primary school age - 11 or under. When children get the confidence to talk to someone it can be a really positive step to improving their mental health. That’s why services like Speak Out Stay Safe are so important, and why events like The Big Breaktime and Childhood Day are essential to ensuring the NSPCC can continue to offer them.

It’s also important to have the support of people in the public eye who can share our messaging, and this week we’ll see the launch of Ant and Dec’s first children’s book, Propa Happy. A guide to feeling good for children aged seven and over, it includes games, jokes and quizzes and age-appropriate mental health advice and activities so children can nurture their emotional wellbeing.

For weeks Ant and Dec have been collecting messages, poems and artwork which make children, families and teachers feel happy or positive as part of their Pass The Positivity appeal. Some of the most inspiring submissions will be included in an installation at the launch of Propa Happy later this week. The book will raise funds for the NSPCC, and we hope the games might spark some creativity for young people to enjoy themselves in The Big Breaktime on Childhood Day.

Visit nspcc.org.uk

* Debra Radford is Assistant Director of the NSPCC, Yorkshire and the North East