Mental Health and Wellbeing

Hello, I am Ms Tranmer and I am the school Emotional Literacy Support Assistant, also known as an ELSA. I’ve been interested in children’s mental health and wellbeing for several years and have previously completed training for the FRIENDS programme, Play Therapy and Mental Health First Aid. I started my ELSA training in September 2019 and hope to be accredited by September 2020.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, you should bring this up with your child’s teacher and they are able to make a referral to me when school is open again. During this time of school closure, you can email me on [email protected] and I will try to provide you with some ideas and resources that you can use to help your child at home.

 

 

How to help your child’s mental health at this time:

Covid 19:

Every child will know that they are not going to school and they will all probably know why. 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.

 

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

If you have any worries about your child’s emotional wellbeing, please email me on [email protected] and I will do my best to help.

ELSA activity Week 5

Hello everyone

I hope you have had a nice half term. It has felt a bit strange for me because now we are not at school, every day feels like half term! I much prefer it when school is running normally and then I can look forward to the holidays again.

Some of you will be coming back into school on the 8th of June. I hope this is a positive thing for you. Maybe now might be the time to start thinking about changing your routine a little bit so you are not too tired when you come back to school. Perhaps, if you have been having a later bedtime, you could start to gradually move it back to your earlier bedtime instead. Or if you’ve not managed to do much reading, you could start reading a couple of pages to your grown up every day (tip: if your grown up is busy you could sit out of the way and read to them while they are making your dinner!)

This week I’ve been thinking about relaxation. It feels strange to talk about that currently, when most of us are at home and have more time than ever. But sometimes, even though you have the time there, 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.

Something else I’ve decided to do this week is not take my phone (or any screen) into my bedroom anymore. It means I’m not up too late looking at websites or playing games and I have also found that I sleep much better too. Because I'm sleeping better, I feel a bit happier in the day, and because I’m feeling happier, I am more patient with and kinder to everyone in my house. It has made such a difference to me! If you do usually have screen time in your bedroom, maybe you could try not to do it for the last hour before you go to sleep this week and see if it makes a difference to you. I would love to know if it does 😊

 

ELSA activity Week 4

Hello everyone 😊

I hope you have all had a nice week. It’s been very sunny but so cold! Have you all managed to find things to be happy about this week? The potatoes I planted in my garden have started growing this week, and that made me really happy.

We were told by the government this week that some of you might be returning to school in a few weeks. You might be really excited about this and see it as a good thing, you might be a bit fed up about it because you like being at home (or perhaps you are not in one of the year groups who will be returning first, and you want to be!), or you might be a bit worried about it because of all the things that have been written in the news. However you feel, it’s OK to feel that way. Everyone will feel differently about it, and the way you feel might change all the time. All the grown-ups in school are working really hard to find ways to keep you every one of you safe and happy when you return.

Because the lockdown rules have been relaxed a little bit this week, I thought it might be nice for you to write down your favourite memories of having to stay at home. I’ve really enjoyed having lots of time to bake things with my children, I enjoyed doing some gardening too and I have also liked that I can stay in my pyjamas a bit longer in the morning! I've attached a memories page that you can print off and fill in if you want to, or you could make your own memory page.

I hope you have a good week and you find some time to do things that make you smile.

Stay safe,

Love Ms T 😊

ELSA activity Week 3

Hello everyone. I hope you’ve all had a nice week. It hasn’t been raining all week, but sometimes it has certainly felt that way! Did you manage to get out in the fresh air when it stopped raining?

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/

I know that although exercise is good for my body and keeps my heart healthy, it also makes me feel happy when I’ve done it. This activity asks you what you have done this week to keep your body healthy (did you go for a walk? Do PE with Joe? Run up and down the stairs 92 times?) and also what you have done to keep your mind healthy (did you have a nice relaxing bath? Read your favourite book? Listen to some lovely music?). I am going to try really hard to practice some of the ideas the activity suggests this week and next week I’ll let you all know how I got on!

I hope everyone has a nice week. Stay safe. 😊

Ms T

ELSA activity Week 2

Hello everyone. I hope you have all had a nice week and have been enjoying the sunshine. Lots of birds have been coming into my garden and that makes me feel happy. I hope that this week you have also found something that makes you feel happy.

The optional activity this week is to 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 during lockdown

• Go for a picnic at Rutland Water

• Go to the park

You will then have some lovely ideas of things to do when we can all go outside again.

Have a lovely week and stay safe.

Ms T 😊

 

 

 

ELSA Activity Week 1

Hello everyone. I hope you are keeping safe and not finding it too boring having to stay indoors. It may not feel like it now, but although feels scary and you might be worried, we are actually living through a very interesting time-your generation are the first children to experience lockdown like this and not even your parents or teachers have done it before!

I thought that this week it would be nice for you to interview your grown-ups who you live with. You can keep their answers and will be able to look at it and remind yourself of this time in years to come. Maybe your grown-up can interview you too.

Sometimes it can be hard to find positives when everything seems quite difficult, but these interview questions focus on all the good things you are experiencing right now. Then, if you are feeling sad or worried, you can go and look at your answers to remind you about the enjoyable things too and that will help you to feel happier again.