COVID-19 Wellbeing and Mental Health

Welcome to our Emotional Wellbeing Area.

We aim to offer support and advice for parents and our pupils, and some suggestions for activities.

Please keep checking into this area, as we plan to add suggestions and resources as your children’s needs change through the course of any further developments.

  

New Resources:

As we approach the return to school for some of our pupils next week, we want to prepare them and make the transition back to school a happy and calm one. Going back to school, What is social distancing? and Seeing other people wearing masks are lovely stories that can help your child to better understand the changes to our school routine. There are also other stories available here.

 

Wellbeing calendar for June

Returning to school - advice for parents

Resilience Resources- a toolkit to help build resilience, cope with change and develop growth mindset.

Helping your child back to school poster- which can be displayed at home as a visual reminder

Comforting at a distance poster- how school staff can comfort your child safely

Mental Health Wellness Tips

Nurse Dotty resources- social story about Dave the Dog who is worried about coronavirus

ELSA Wellbeing Activities

Winston’s Wish Bereavement Support- how to say goodbye

   

Your Mindful Garden App for pre-schoolers and EYFS. (voiced by Stephen Fry)

ELSA Support website - May Calendar

Find your feet: Transition Tips for Parents - Young Minds

Resources for managing anxiety and improving wellbeing -Mentally Healthy Schools

Resources for dealing with the effects of lockdown - Mentally Healthy Schools

Calm app -free for 7 days

Headspace app- free for 7 or 14 days, depending on monthly or annual contract

   

   

Managing transitions as a whole-school community

We recognise that this is a particularly unsettling and anxious time as we move towards schools re-opening tomorrow (for some classes), so we wanted to outline our guiding principles for how we can move forward through this transition as smoothly as possible.

We are adopting the following acronym of a S.W.A.N. to support us as we transition to a wider reopening:

  

S - SAFE

W - WELCOMING

A - ALL TOGETHER

N - NURTURING

  

Safe

We want you and your child to feel safe, calm and re-assured, and to know that it will be okay to come back to school. So we are already working on creating an environment that is and feels physically and emotionally safe for all of us. We want to build up predictability and consistency around hygiene and other safety rules which school staff will role-model noticeably, and praise your child for following. We will support any child through any misunderstandings and refer to the benefits of what we are doing. These Hand washing education resources and Antibiotic Guardian Youth badge (activities suitable for ages 5 to 18) can be executed easily at home.

We want to work in partnership so that you have a genuine voice in building this new normal for your children. We want you to feel involved and invested, and to start to re-inforce these rules and messages at home in advance of the children’s return.

We hope to involve the children to some extent in co-creating rules surrounding playtimes; if we work with them, they will have a sense of ownership and the rules would have more meaning for them.

   

Welcoming

When the children return, we want them to feel excited and happy coming into school and we want them to know that we are genuinely delighted to have them back and to be able to see them again. We have sincerely missed them. They will need to know that they belong, and feel a part of things and we will do everything we can to enable this. Our Downton Values of Love, Peace and Joy will be ever-present and more needed now than ever.

  

All Together

We need to create a truly inclusive environment in which the children feel surrounded by support, and know that they can rely on all the adults around them so that we are all reinforcing the same messages and sense of togetherness.

    

Nurturing

Recent research conducted at Reading University highlights the importance of allowing the children time and space to play and to re-connect socially with their peers. A key point is to play the long game here, and not rush ahead with trying to make up for lost time or to add intense pressure and stress to the children, some of whom may be in a high alert state. We want to invest in their mental health and enhance their emotional wellbeing..

We will focus primarily on settling your children in, on meeting their social and emotional needs first and foremost, and on their readiness to learn skills. The general expert consensus is that we should be laying the foundations for them in terms of nurture first and foremost, not solely teaching them in the plain, traditional sense. We will look to provide children with every opportunity to “bounce back” from the last few weeks and months, establishing as much familiarity as possible.

This COVID generation of children are going to be unique, and we want to enable them to flourish which will not be an overnight job. We all have the potential to do a lot of good here, and to repair the rupture that this virus has caused and to prepare our children to be strong adults in the future as well as happy and resilient children in their present.

Anticipating your child’s concerns

No-one knows your child as well as you do. It’s important to recognise that each child is unique, and that they may have had very different experiences of Home Learning and staying at home, even within the same family. Many children will naturally have mixed feelings and attitudes about coming back to school.

A tip is to be alert and attuned to how your child is feeling as they might have a particular worry about returning to school that can be addressed. With younger children (3-7), playing together may be your best way of identifying what their concerns are. They often play and draw what they are thinking about, sometimes repeatedly. With older children talking can be easier through a shared activity like walking the dog or baking a cake. Encouraging older children to write a journal could also be beneficial.

  

Thank you for everything that you are doing to support your child at home. It is greatly appreciated.

   

Self- Care

Self care is very important for parents and carers at this time to enable us to be as resilient as possible to manage and alleviate the worries and anxiety of our children, and to provide re-assurance:

New portal for Anna Freud resources  includes:

Supporting parents and carers through disruption - video from the Anna Freud Centre

Mental Wellbeing audio guides- from NHS Every Mind Matters

Coronavirus and your wellbeing - from Mind

Understanding anxiety - colourful guide from the Priory Group

What is Anxiety?- leaflet from Dragonfly Impact Education

Ideas to help manage your anxiety- from NHS Every Mind Matters

A free app for sleep, anxiety and stress- from Insight Timer

e-learning: staying mentally well through Covid19 - from Pooky Knightsmith 

Working from home wellbeing action plan - from the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust

How to sit at your desk correctly- NHS guidance

   

   

Tailored Support for EYFS Parents and Carers: Resources from the Anna Freud Trust

  

Care for the Family has specific information for parents and carers of children with additional needs as well as general parenting info.

Also Facebook page.

  

The following might be a good stimulus to help explain the current situation, and to talk about your child’s feelings:

Coronavirus: A Book for Children, illustrated by Axel Scheffler

  

Our emotional and physical health can be severely compromised during these unsettling times.

The pressures on parents of Home Learning and working from home can cause friction, frustration and stress.

The NHS Every Mind Matters website https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

has some helpful and common- sense sections about looking after our Mental Health e.g.:

   

10 Tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-anxiety-tips/

   

Looking after children and young people during the coronavirus outbreak

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/looking-after-children-and-young-people-during-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/

   

7 simple tips to tackle working from home

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/7-simple-tips-to-tackle-working-from-home/

   

Mental Wellbeing while staying at home

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/

  

NHS- recommended Mental Health Helplines

  

Resources to help you stay active

Stay safe when cycling links 

www.connectingwiltshire.co.uk

www.bikeability.org.uk

www.dft.gov.uk/think/education

www.sustrans.org.uk

Indoor activities for kids - from Change4Life

Home workout videos - from NHS 

Fitness studio exercise videos - from NHS 

Chair based pilates exercise video - from NHS 

10 minute workout video - from British Heart Foundation

Strength Exercise videos - From British Heart Foundation

Weekly staying active resources -  from Living Streets 

   

We are also keen to hear your suggestions as to what you would like to be added to this area.

Some suggestions from we have include:

Using story massage at bedtime. Here is a link to her website: https://www.storymassage.co.uk and there are some videos to follow along with here: https://vimeo.com/storymassage 

Bridge the Gap is a wonderful organisation offering emotional wellbeing support to parents and families. They are running weekly webinars, have a great range of free resources and have support groups on facebook should parents be interested. https://www.jwbridgethegap.com

   

   

Parents, please find some hopefully helpful links below:

Looking after yourself Parent Pack

Guidance on Supporting Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

   

Below is the introductory letter which features some signposts to support services and some useful websites for your children:

Letter to Parents about Emotional Wellbeing

Here are some signposts to further assistance for families:

Covid19 Resources

   

For mental health generally as well as at this time:

Organisations to support parents and carers

   

Further resources for parents :

Covid-19 support and advice for parents - from Wiltshire Council

WPCC COVID-19 web pages - from Wiltshire Parent Carer Council 

COVID-19: guidance on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing - from DfE

Parenting during COVID-19 - pdf from Triple P 

Triple P website and Facebook page - for parenting support

Care for the Family has specific information for parents and carers of children with additional needs as well as general parenting info. Also a Facebook page.

Supporting parents and carers through disruption - video from the Anna Freud Centre

Wiltshire Council's Coronavirus page including details of the new Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub 

Talking to your child about Coronavirus - from Place 2B

Talking to your child about Coronavirus - from Young Minds

Talking to children about illness - recent guidance from BPS

Coronavirus guidance for carers - from Carers UK 

e-learning self-sooth strategies - from Pooky Knightsmith

Supporting Neurodiverse Children In Challenging Times Such As During Self-Isolation - video from NHS East London

   

There are also resources available on Twinkl at the moment for adults and children:

School Closure Wellbeing Support

   

Online radicalisation Parent/guardian information and support - from Let's Talk About It. (Recommended by Nick Bolton, Wiltshire Healthy Schools)

   

Young Minds 24 hour Parents Helpline : 0808 802 5544

   

Support for pupils

Oxford Health NHS Trust have launched a new helpline for children and young people during the Coronavirus outbreak

The helpline will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

9am – 5pm on a weekday 01865 903777
5pm – 9am on a weekday or on weekends 01865 901000

More info about this new helpline here

   

Other national resources for children 

Calmzone - a toolbox of calming activities from Childline

e-learning self-sooth strategies - from Pooky Knightsmith

Cosmic Kids Yoga

Relaxation exercises for children

Free mindfulness resources

Keeping calm activities for young children (EYFS in particular)

Understanding anxiety - colourful guide from the Priory Group

Mind of My Own Mindfulness Project

Mood Journal from Childline

Coronavirus: A Book for Children, illustrated by Axel Scheffler

Coronavirus fact sheet for children - From Public Health England

You Tube video to accompany the factsheet - from Alder Hay Children's Charity

Advice if you are worried about Coronavirus - videos from Newsround (March)

How I’m keeping in touch with my friends (May Newsround video)

   

The PSHE Association have created some Mental Health lesson plans which have been adapted for Home Learning.

These lessons are entirely OPTIONAL, and are only here in case you think your child might benefit from exploring them.

They advise reading the following guidance first:

Guide for parents and carers educating at home

For Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2):

Feelings Powerpoint

Feelings Worksheet

For Lower Key Stage 2 ( Years 3 and 4):

Expressing Feelings Powerpoint

Feelings match up worksheet

Feelings match up Pupil/Parent Guide

Body outline worksheet

For Upper Key Stage 2 (Years 5 and 6):

Keeping well and managing feelings powerpoint

Activities for health worksheet

Helpful for Mental Health list

   

   

Family links

Free Jigsaw Families stories and Calm Me time audios 

Free Jigsaw song, ‘Together as One’

   

Here is a journal for the whole family:

Happy Self Journal

   

Here are some more suggestions for activities for the children, especially those receiving ELSA support ( from our Emotional Literacy Support Assistant Mrs Kilgour):

April Calendar

Calm and coping strategy

Emotions wheel art therapy

Friends little booklet

Mindfulness mobile

Roll a Positive Question

Starfish Story

More free resources also available by clicking on this link

   

A story about the importance of staying safe and well at home:

The Stay at Home Superheroes

   

Suggestions for staying well during this time using self- support strategies:

Health and wellbeing

   

A pictorial explanation of the coronavirus (designed primarily for children on the autistic spectrum):

Why I am not going to school at the moment

   

Childline telephone number: 0800 1111