Supporting children's emotional well-being at home
At Snaith Primary School the emotional wellbeing of children is of the greatest importance. We understand that during these challenging times lots of children may be struggling with their emotions. Regardless of their age, this may be a difficult time for children and young people. Some may react immediately, while others may show signs of difficulty later on. How a child or young person reacts can vary according to their age, how they understand information and communicate, their previous experiences, and how they typically cope with stress. Adverse reactions may include thinking about their health or that of family and friends, fear, avoidance, problems sleeping, or physical symptoms such as stomach ache. You may find some of the resources at the bottom of this page, from the 'relaxkids' calm pack, useful. Why not read 'Everybody Worries Sometimes' with your child to help reassure them that it is OK to feel worried and encourage them to share worries with adults who can help.
If you have an urgent concern - CAMHS (Child and adolescent mental health service). This service is for young people (under 18) who are experiencing and struggling to cope with acute emotional distress leading to a high level of mental health risk. CAMHS Crisis Team 24 hour service: 01482 301701 – option 2. If there is an immediate threat to life call 999
As a school, we are continuing to work with the local authority and external agencies to access advice and support for our families. Useful links and advice to help adults with caring responsibilities look after the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, including those with additional needs and disabilities, will be added here.
Look After Your Own Mental Health
We know that during this time you will all be thinking about the children or young people in your care - remember it is important to take care of your own mental health and wellbeing too!. Children and young people can react, to what they see from the adults around them. When adults deal with a situation calmly and confidently, they are able to provide the best support for children and young people. Parents and carers can be more supportive to others around them, especially children, when they are better prepared. There are lots of great free apps you can use to guide you through breathing techniques and meditation that can help ease anxiety and clear your mind of anxious thoughts. Mind recommend the use of the 'Headspace' app.
Visit the sites below which give advice and actions to help you take care of your mental health and wellbeing during the Covid 19 pandemic.:
- government guidance on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing
- Every Mind Matters
- East riding mental health advice and guidance
Looking After Children's Mental Health
Every mind matters suggests these top tips for helping children to cope throughout the current pandemic.
1. Listen to what your child says and how they're feeling
Children and young people may respond to stress in different ways. They may be more emotional (upset, anxious or angry) or behave differently (clingy, withdrawn or wet the bed). They may also have physical symptoms, like stomach ache, and problems sleeping. Children and young people can feel less anxious if they are able to express themselves in a safe and supportive environment. Stay calm – kids often take their emotional cues from the adults in their lives, so how you respond is important.
Listen to and acknowledge their concerns, speak kindly to them and answer any questions they have honestly. Give them extra love and attention if they need it.
2. Be clear about what's happening
Children and young people want to feel that those who care for them can keep them safe. Explain what will help to keep them and those they love safe, such as washing their hands regularly. Do this by talking openly and giving honest answers to questions they have. Use reliable sources of information , like the coronavirus advice on GOV.UK and NHS coronavirus advice – and explain things in words they understand.
If you cannot answer all their questions or stop them from worrying, focus on listening to their feelings. This will help them feel supported.
3. Limit news and conversation about coronavirus
Children and young people, like adults, can become more worried by too much news on the coronavirus outbreak in the media and online. But blocking all news rarely helps, as children are likely to find things out from their friends or online. Turning off the TV or closing websites when children come into the room may increase their interest, and their imagination, too much. Cut down on the amount of coronavirus news and talk you and your family have. Try to stick to getting an update twice a day – it's enough to keep you informed but not overwhelmed. You should talk to them about what's going on and ask them what they have heard.
4. Keep close and regular contact
Try to keep your children close to you or those who care for them, as they will need that closer contact now. If you are not living with your children or must go away, for work or to hospital, keep regular contact by phone or video calls. If the children are part of a family that is separated, it's important for them to be supported in their contact with parents and other family members – even when the adults do not always get on. Help them understand any arrangements that have been or are being made for them. Use simple terms they understand so it's clear why these things are happening.
5. Create new routines
Life has changed for all of us for a while. Routines make children and young people feel safer, so think about how to develop new routines that are interesting and fun. Make a plan for the day or week that includes time for learning, playing and relaxing. You could arrange a virtual play date with friends or visit an online museum or gallery.
6. Get active indoors
It's important to try to build activity into kids' daily routine. Plan time outside, but only if you can do it safely, following the government advice on social distancing. There are lots of indoor games and activities for kids to play on the Change4Life website.
7. Eat healthily and avoid too many treats
We know it can be tempting to give sweets or chocolate to cheer your children up. But too many treats are not good for their health, especially if they're not as active as they normally are.
Change4Life has loads of healthier snack ideas – and making them together is also a great way to keep the kids busy.
8. Children and young people need good sleep
Sleep is so important for mental and physical health for everyone. Children and young people need good-quality sleep, so it's important to keep to existing bedtime routines.
9. Look after your own mental health and get support
Remember to take care of your own mental health and wellbeing! You will give the best support to those you love if you can deal with things calmly and confidently.
For further advice on guidance in supporting children's emotional wellbeing during this difficult time take a look at some of these useful links:
Looking After the Mental Health of Children with SEND
For children with additional needs the current situation can be even more difficult to understand. For many children with additional needs routine is key, it may be helpful to create a visual outline of your daily routine which includes some work time, some active time and some relaxation time. The following links provide some helpful advice and resources to support children with additional needs.
- Autism.org - coronavirus support
- Childmind.org - supporting children with autism during the coronavirus outbreak.
If your child is struggling to cope with their emotions throughout this difficult time you can contact school for further advice and support at: