Mental Health and Wellbeing

Hello, I am Miss Reeson and I am the school Emotional Literacy Support Assistant, also known as an ELSA. ELSAs are trained and supported by Educational Psychologists and we attend regular top-up sessions to ensure that we can do the very best for the children we work with.

ELSA work aims to support the emotional development of children within school. As you can probably imagine, this is a very broad spectrum! Within my ELSA work I cover friendship issues and social skills, self-esteem, belonging, communication, recognition of and managing feelings and emotions, support through family changes and breakup, and behaviour and behaviour strategies. Sometimes my ELSA role is just being a listening ear for a child, and I run a drop-in session once a week for children to come and chat. An ELSA is also able to support children through grief or loss and I am currently studying for a grief and bereavement counselling diploma in addition to my ELSA qualification.

If you feel that your child would benefit from attending ELSA sessions with me please complete this form and email it to me on areeson@englishmartyrs.rutland.sch.uk. 

Resilient Rutland

Rake a look at the support and advice that are on offer from Resilient Rutland.

Mindfulness on Class Dojo

This set of activities was created in partnership with Yale University's Center for Emotional Intelligence and features a character we all know!

Five ways to wellbeing

Grown-ups can find information about it here:

Summarised it is:

  • Connect (Ring, write or text somebody. They’d love to hear from you)
  • Move (Dance to your favourite song, go for a walk, have a go at PE with Joe)
  • Learn (You guys are great at this! I bet your grown-ups have learnt a lot helping you at home too!)
  • Give (Maybe you can help your grown up with a job in the house?)
  • Be present (Take time to notice what is around you. The rain can feel cold and refreshing. The birds sound happy.)

I found a really lovely guided meditation on YouTube this week. It is only eight minutes long and will help you to be present. You may even find that you actually feel happier afterwards (I did!)

The YouTube link is here: https://youtu.be/HtYIQiXyrsE

I’ve found this really nice resource free to download on Twinkl.co.uk, which has been put together by the Mind charity. It is quite colourful, so you might not be able to print it out, but it has some great ideas in it to help with your wellbeing and happiness and you could write it down instead of printing it. I’m going to fill it in this week, and I’ll show you how I did next week.

Below are some suggestions of apps and websites that you may like to look at for/with your child.

This list of activities from resilient Rutland has something for everyone: https://resilientrutland.co.uk/resources/activities/ 

This link to MindEd for families has a lot of information for parents and carers regarding children’s mental health and wellbeing and how to best support them. https://mindedforfamilies.org.uk/young-people/ 

‘Catch It’ is an app endorsed by the NHS that gives the child the chance to log their mood, understand why the feeling is there, and change it for a more positive mood. It is free to download.

Chill Panda is another free app that is good for children. It helps with relaxation and mindfulness.

How to help your child’s mental health regarding Covid 19:

It is quite likely that your child is worried or scared by what they have heard or seen, either in the television or from listening to adult conversation in the home. It is important that if your child does feel this way, their fears and worries are acknowledged. As parents we often inadvertently tell children that their worries are trivial, by telling them there is nothing to worry about/not to be scared. If an adult can say “yes, I understand how that would be scary/worrying…” it validates the child’s feelings. The adult can then extend the conversation and providere assurance by listing the things that the family/household is doing to keep safe. A guide to coronavirus for children is here

https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/publication/childrens-guide-to-coronavirus/ 

 

And a great book for helping a child to deal with worries is ‘The huge bag of worries’ by Victoria Ironside.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDrnuPj7xfs 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Huge-Bag-Worries-Virginia-Ironside/dp/0340903171

 

Gratitude:

It may be helpful for your child (and you) to start a gratitude journal. Whether this is a physical thing, or even just a mental exercise, with practice it does become easier to see the positives in every day. I’d suggest starting off looking for three things, however small, just before bedtime.

 

Example:

1. I saw two birds sitting on the fence in my garden and it made me happy

2. I had my favourite sandwich for lunch, and it was delicious

3. My family are all safe at home with me today

Keeping a gratitude journal will also help your child with turning tricky ‘red’ thoughts into helpful ‘green’ thoughts.

 

Three Good Things is a daily gratitude journal. Focusing on positive experiences has been proven to improve mental health and may be beneficial to both parents and children.  It is also free to download.

 

Turning red thoughts into green thoughts:

All children within school will have accessed part of our route to resilience, whether they are aware of it or not, as it is part of our whole school approach. It’s probable that some children are struggling with missing their families, friends or activities they used to attend. A helpful way for them to deal with this is to turn their ‘red’ thoughts (self-limiting thoughts) into ‘green’ thoughts (self-help thoughts). It does take practice but gets easier the more you do it!

Examples:

-Red-I really miss Grandma. I can’t see her for ages.

 Green-But I can write her a letter and draw her a picture. Maybe I can phone or videochat with her. I can make a list of   all the fun things we can do together when we see each other again.

- Red-I can’t go to the park to play anymore.

 Green-But I can go for a walk/bike ride with my parent. I can look for rainbows in windows. I can create an obstacle course in my garden/house for my parent to do.

 

Some really helpful websites/pages I have found to help with child mental health and wellbeing are below:

Instagram:

  • helping_little_minds
  • elsa_support

Relaxation

Sometimes, even though you have the time, it can actually take a bit of practise to properly relax yourself. I found these nice activities online at www.partnershipforchildren.org that you might want to try.

https://www.partnershipforchildren.org.uk/uploads/images/What%20we%20do/Relaxation%20Activities.pdf

I like doing the bubble breaths. It really helps me to clear my mind. There are lots of other great activities on this website you can look at too.

Action for happiness calendar

I’d like to suggest two things for you this week. This first one is this calendar from actionforhappiness.org available to download for free here: https://www.actionforhappiness.org/calendars

I love the idea of this calendar, and I think it would make a lot of us feel happier doing some of the actions it suggests. I wonder how many days you manage to complete an activity…I’m going to try to do at least five this week.

The second thing I thought we could do is to try to think about looking after ourselves and what keeps us happy. I found this great resource on elsa-support.co.uk available to download for free here https://www.elsa-support.co.uk/mindfulmonday-week-12-self-care/

Jar of good things and wishes

Make one or two jars. You can do it with real jars or containers if you have them, or I have found a picture of a jar that you can print off and write inside. You could even draw your own jar if you like.

The first jar is a jar of good things. I’d like you to write down all the things you have now that make you feel happy and put them into your jar. Some of the things I’ve put in my jar of good things are:

• The family who I live with

• The weather is nice and sunny so I can sit in the garden

• The radio played my favourite song this morning

Are you able to fill your jar up? If you can, try to find at least two things every day to put into your jar.

The second jar is a jar of wishes. In this jar you can write all the things you are looking forward to doing that you are unable to do now. In my jar I have written:

• Visit family who I haven’t been able to see for a while

• Go for a picnic at Rutland Water

• Go to the park