Without warning June is upon us. For many the month of June is full of joy as plans begin to come together, summer birthdays are in full swing and our gardens bloom with vibrant colours. As a parent, this can be a wonderful month where the children can be outside and enjoy what nature has to offer whilst meeting up with friends and boosting vitamin D levels.
One of my favourite things to do on evening walks (or when I am doing the washing up) is listening to podcasts. This is something I talk to many people about because, in our busy lives, we have less and less time to sit and read up to date research. The Anna Freud center has released a podcast called 'Child in Mind'. The series is presented by BBC Radio 4 presenter Claudia Hammond. In each 20-minute episode, she discusses an important issue in child and family mental health with an expert and a young person or parent. You can find the series through the link below, on iTunes and on Soundcloud.
The evenings are getting lighter, the grass is greener and new lambs are appearing in fields across the country. It can only mean one thing: spring is on its way!
With the seasonal changes in full swing, it may come as no great surprise that 20th March is International Happiness Day. For children, each day has moments of true joy and happiness, which is something that can get lost in the ever-growing forest that is adulthood. It does not have to be on the day itself, but over the course of the month take a few mindful moments to find happiness in the present moment. It could be a comment from your child, a smile from a stranger at the bus stop or even gratitude for the sun shining after a rainy day.
Action for Happiness is an organisation that solely focuses on being mindful, grateful and kind. The link below will take you to the website, which offers a 3-step activity that you could complete with your child to help identify how they are truly feeling, how they manage worries and consider their mindset. Follow them on twitter @actionhappiness for regular hints and tips.
This month hosts ‘Children’s Mental Health Week’. From the 6th through to 12th February we will be creating connections.
In school we will be making connections with each other through reading, artwork, being out in nature and within the community. As we teach the children about their own mental health and how to look after their minds, it is an opportunity to reflect on our own mental health. Are we looking after ourselves? Do we see mental health in a positive light or negative? Are we taking steps to support our own mental health?
Sometimes this can feel impossible but there are ways to manage our mindset in everyday life, without the need to sit crossed-legged in a quiet space. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water each day, take a walk outside, meet with a friend or call a family member. Talking is a great way to connect with others so maybe take some time to catch up with a friend this month and see how it makes you feel. There are plenty of support groups out there that can help you.
Our local support network can be found at:
Grovewood Primary School,
0300 247 0013
The website gives you lots of information, ideas and contact details for additional support. https://essexfamilywellbeing.co.uk/
It is official, we are in the depths of winter. There is ice on the ground, scarves and gloves are doing grand tours around the school and the car-defrosting ritual is adding 5 minutes on to many of our morning routines. Welcome to the Spring term.
This is the time of year many people set goals for themselves. It is a time of reflection, inspiration and visions for the future. I have never been one for new years resolutions purely because I do not tend to keep them, however I am one for goals. If you have set yourself a resolution or target this year, long or short term, for ultimate success attach your new habit to an existing one, start small and join forces with a friend. It is important that these goals are manageable in your day to day life. Instead of setting a goal to run a marathon, start with a mile. It is important that we model this journey to our young people, including the struggles we face. This will allow the children to see resilience in action through adulthood. Maybe they could set their own goals: ride a bike; learn their 3 x table; learn to dance or draw.
With resilience in mind, there is a resource I would like to share with you. Power Thoughts is a teaching, coaching based service aimed at empowering children to tap into the ‘power’ of their minds. They have a section on their website committed to supporting parents to help their children manage BIG emotions, whether that is going to bed on time or sitting their x table test. For more information follow the link.
In school the children are full of excitement as festive learning takes place all around us. Being in the midst of the children’s joy lifts spirits and spreads heartwarming happiness. Whilst children can make this month magical, it does not take away from the worry many families are feeling as we enter winter. There are changes in the cost of living which are causing concern for families across our community. First thing to remember is you are not on your own.Whilst there is no one out there who can wave a magic wand to fix it all, there are places that have set up support locally to help you.
The Salvation Army website provides Emergency Assistance. The government Help for Households campaign might be useful. Megazone at Rayleigh Weir offers a community resilience hub, please look at their website for more information. Additionally, The Kitche App is great for learning how to minimise food waste, with a chance to win an air fryer! Too Good to Go! is a great place to access discounted or free food that would likely be thrown away; places like Greggs, Starbucks and Costa.
Whatever your December looks like this year, smile at each other, support each other and know that we are here for you.
The weather is changing and there is a buzz around the school from both staff and children. It is the buzz of busyness. The weeks seem to be flying faster than I can keep up with, whilst we try to savour every moment with our classes there is so much learning to dive into which speeds the days up further.
This month we raise awareness for World Mental Health Day and we will be participating in #helloyellow run by YoungMinds. As the autumn months spread the morning dew over the lawns of Rayleigh, people can begin to feel lonely and isolated which can cause a detrimental effect to their well-being and mental health. It is important that we, as a community, send the message to our children to acknowledge the mental health of others and support people. In addition to supporting others, this reinforces the importance of looking after their own mental health so that they can nurture their minds and regulate their own feelings and emotions.
The Mental Health Foundation have created their own ‘Mental Health Tips’ guide which is backed by research. You can find this below. These activities can be completed as a family to help promote self care. Adding these to habits you already have means they are more likely to become permanent habits so maybe add them to your bedtime routine or part of your walk home from school.
Whatever you end up doing this month - helping neighbours, starting new routines or just enjoying the ever changing leaves as they dance in the wind - do it knowing you are not alone and acknowledging that there are moments of gratitude to be had wherever you look.
Mental Health Foundation - Best Ever Mental Health Tips
As the start of the new school year approaches many of us are filled with excitement and embrace the joy that comes with entering a new classroom, seeing friends again and building relationships with new teachers. However for some children, particularly new starters, this change can be an anxious time and the uncertainty of a new routine can lead to difficulties adjusting to this change. The first thing to remember is that this is normal so if your child is struggling they are not alone. There are some things you can do to help your child manage this anxiety. Take a moment to watch the video created by Place2Be and read their hints and tips to aid this transition.
We are looking forward to returning to school with a class full of smiling children but if your child is finding it difficult we are here to support them back into the classroom and adjust to their new routine.
As the summer break draws to a close, we hope you have all enjoyed a balance of fun and rest and we look forward to welcoming you all to back to school!