Please take a moment to stop and congratulate yourselves and your families for the week so far – it is has been a long journey and you have all done so well. One more week to go and then a well-earned rest for everyone! I have been enjoying looking out of my window to see some sunshine and blue skies today and taking a moment to be grateful for all that is good today.
You may have found this week difficult and this is to be expected as we get nearer to half term. If we were all in school, the children would be tired and emotional this week, let alone in these strange circumstances. Last week, I gave you some tips for developing children’s independence; this week I would like to share some well-being information in line with Children’s Mental Health Week.
Mrs Voisey has shared with us the mnemonic SCARF this week - SAFETY, CARING, ACHIEVEMENT, RESILIENCE and FRIENDSHIP. There are some links on the whole school ClassDojo page with some information and simple activities that may help to boost children’s well-being.
Every Mind Matters https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters by the NHS, is centred around mental health and wellbeing and includes specific advice for the coronavirus outbreak along with links to further support. It covers topics such as 'looking after children and young people during the coronavirus outbreak', 'looking after a child or young person's mental health', and 'looking after your own mental health'.
Many children are falling into “fight, flight or freeze” more at the moment (adults can be in these stages too). Above all, children need to know they are safe and loved. They will be asking themselves “Am I safe? Am I loved?” If they don’t feel secure in both of these they will often result in fight, flight or freeze. Mrs Dance attended some training this week around these responses and the information at the bottom of the newsletter is based on the feedback from the course. Even as professionals working with children, the reminders are really useful.
Next week is Safer Internet Day on Tuesday – the children will have activities to support this during the week. We will also be sharing some tips with you regarding how to help your children be safe on-line.
I hope that you enjoy the weekend. If snow is your thing – be prepared from Sunday onwards I understand. If your child is attending school and it snows, please do send them in with appropriate footwear that they can change out of in the classroom and wrap up warmly.
Fight, flight or freeze
Fight – children may become loud, noisy, attention seeking, wanting to control situations, show anger, defiance, and disrespect, start lying, blaming others and be more demanding.
Flight – children in this mode may display avoidance, running away, struggling with free choice/play, reverting to baby talk or being being hyperactive. Some children become upset with mistakes or if work doesn’t turn out how they imagine.
To regulate emotions in these circumstances, controlled breathing will help. Children could try breathing in whilst counting to 5 in and then slowly breathing out for a count of 5. Children could trace their fingers, breathing in whilst going up and breathing out on the way down. They might also respond to soft toys, blankets, feeling warm and cosy, and warm drinks.
Grounding activities also help – you could try the Grounding Tree: Sit/stand. Imagine you are a tee. Feel your feet on the ground. Send roots down. Send down your strength. Feel connected to the earth. Feel like a tree that can bend in the wind, strong and calm. Feel all that strength, draw it up inside you. Feel it inside your heart. Open your eyes and feel grounded. Feeling calm able to bend with the wind and face your day/problem.
Freeze - children may appear bored, not interested, not listening, be visually scanning the room, day dreaming and changing the subject. Children in this mode may also benefit from grounding techniques and activities such as dancing, drumming, trampoline and crunchy foods.
Phrases that might help children – and us!
Mistakes happen, nobody’s perfect
This situation may be horrible but it won’t last forever
This too will pass
This is an opportunity for me to learn how to cope with my worries and fears
I can take all the time I need right now to let go and relax
These are just my feeling and eventually they’ll go away
It’s ok to feel sad and anxious sometimes
What if….then (I make a plan)
A good phrase that Mrs Bateup recommends is, “I can see you are sad/worried…, what can I do to help?”