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Mental Health

Everyone has mental health, yet for some reason lots of us tend not not to talk about it.  During these unprecedented times, it is really important to keep ourselves physically and mentally fit. 

Here are some ideas and links for you to use.

Mentally Healthy Schools (Anna Freud Centre)

The Anna Freud Centre has published a range of resources to help support the mental health of children, young people, school staff and parents. The third toolkit in the series has just been released. You can find them here:

Coronavirus: Resources for mental health and well-being


Toolkit 1

  • a booklet to support schools
  • videos to provide practical guidance and tips to schools, parents and carers about coronavirus (COVID-19) and mental health
  • activities to ease anxiety that can be done at school or at home and other helpful advice, helplines and resources for adults and children.


https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/resources/coronavirus-resources-for-mental-health-and-wellbeing-toolkit-1/

Toolkit 2

  • resources for staff wellbeing
  • resources to help children with SEND and
  • responding to the unique challenges that may arise for vulnerable children


https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/resources/coronavirus-resources-for-mental-health-and-wellbeing-toolkit-2/

Toolkit 3

  • resources for school staff, as well as parents, to use with vulnerable children or children with SEND,
  • a resource from Stonewall for the LGBTQ+ community, and
  • a resource pack for staff wellbeing and practical activities for adults and children to help stay mentally well during this time.


https://www.mentallyhealthyschools.org.uk/resources/coronavirus-resources-for-mental-health-and-wellbeing-toolkit-3/

School work closely with Catalyst. Can you take 5 minutes to complete the following pupil survey during the COVID19 school closure?

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf_UqXSA1NHkgh2dVNIgnTdijH38pgrSijqMu2zEhYxGUJtXg/viewform

 

There are also different language versions of the calendar available too:

Some great ideas for the great outdoors

Outdoor learning can be really effective because it encourages curiosity, fosters motivation and is accessible to all children regardless of their attainments in reading, writing or maths.

Stimulating an interest in nature, in trees and in birds can develop into a lifelong hobby. Now that would be a positive outcome from the COVID19 lockdown!

Try these ideas from the Field Studies Council who have a special page with ideas for children at home and daily updates for outdoor learning on their twitter feed @NatureFSchools:

Maps: create a sound map (you can do this in a park, garden, or even through a (safe) open window. Download the activity sheet here.

Mapping your local area could provide a number of ‘spin off’ projects – map the route from your house to the park, map your route to school (how much can you do from memory), visit the park then draw a map of it when you get home

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt. The activity sheet here provides a list of things children could collect, and you can obviously produce your own lists.

Make a weather diary. The activity sheet here provides some ideas, including how to make a simple rain gauge. I also love the idea for ‘Sky TV’: just lie down outside and watch the clouds!

The RSPB website also has a number of outdoor learning ideas for children here, although the RSPB app is easier to navigate. The app allows you to filter for a number of different projects, graded from easy, and variable depending on how much time you have.

Positivity project

Parents and children might enjoy contributing to the positivity_project_manchester on Instagram. This is a positive psychology informed art collaboration in which anyone can upload photos of hearts seen in the environment. Have a look at @positivity_project_manchester on Instagram for more information.

Apps of the week

Seek (iNaturalist)

This is the child and young person’s version of the iNaturaist app aimed at adults. iNaturalist is a citizen scientist initiative jointly supported by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society that enables anyone to contribute to a collaborative set of observations of any given neighbourhood. This child’s version (“Seek”) doesn’t require any details such as email addresses and the child can choose whether or not to share their photos of observations. Children under the age of 13 require parental permissions, and this app might be best used with adult support.

Children using the app can search for common species of plants, insects and so on in their local area. They can also take and upload photos that will then be identified for them by the app. Experimenting with the app this weekend led me to spot a lot of plants previously unnoticed alongside the road on my daily walk.

British Trees is an app developed by the Woodland Trust. All children should be able to use this to identify trees in their local neighbourhood. The app allows the child to observe any part of the tree, e.g. leaf, bark, twigs and then to follow a series of questions in order to identify the tree. Another opportunity to be a ‘nature detective’.

Sleep is really important to maintain a healthy mind.

Children

Children aged three to five years need 11 – 12 hours sleep a night. Those aged six to ten years need 10 – 11 hours sleep a night.

  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that lasts no more than half an hour.
  • Turn off screens at least an hour before bedtime and lower the lighting in the house.
  • If your child is anxious, read stories about characters who overcome these worries (e.g. about the dark) during the daytime. Talk to them about what they are looking forward to tomorrow. Give them something of yours (e.g. a t-shirt) to have in bed.
  • Put relaxing music or an audio book on as they go to sleep.
  • If they are having difficulty getting to sleep, or have got into the habit of late bedtimes, start by scheduling bedtime for when they would usually go to sleep and move it back very slowly (e.g. 15 mins earlier every few days).
  • For children who are reluctant to stay in bed, try sitting with them as they fall asleep and then gradually, over a number of weeks, moving further away each night and eventually out of the room.

Teenagers and Adults

School-aged teenagers need 9 – 9 ½ hours sleep a night. 99.9% of adults need 8 hours sleep a night.

  • Wake up at the same time every day (or as close to this as possible).
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the late afternoon/ evening, as far as possible. It takes around 8 hours for caffeine to leave your body. Caffeine and alcohol affect the quality of everyone’s sleep, even if you drink them regularly!
  • Turn off screens at least an hour before bedtime and lower the lighting in the house (e.g. by using lamps instead of the ceiling light).
  • Charge phones in another room or put them on ‘airplane mode’ if this isn’t possible.
  • Before bed, make a note of something that has gone well that day. Write down any worries or a ‘To Do’ list.
  • Put relaxing music, an audio book, or a guided relaxation recording on whilst going to sleep.
  • Don’t lie awake in bed. If you find yourself lying in bed awake for more than 20 mins, get up and do a relaxing activity.