At Nova Primary school, the mental health and wellbeing of our pupils, families and staff is of great importance to us. Through our curriculum and graduated response, we offer a wide range of opportunities for children to develop self-help skills so that they grow to be able to independently manage their wellbeing. By working together, we hope to encourage children, their families and our entire school community to be their own mental health and wellbeing engineers, building in opportunities to support one another.
Below, you will find a range of resources, strategies and suggestions of ways that could support your child and your families wellbeing outside of school.
NHS 5 steps to mental wellbeing
The NHS 5 steps to mental wellbeing are evidence-based and proven to support the development of positive mental health and wellbeing. Everyone interprets these in their own personal ways but here are some suggestions for each of the 5 steps that you could have a go at:
Step 1: connect
- Talk to others: a friend, a teacher, a family member, a work colleague or a neighbour. It’s important to make time for quality conversation
- Listen to others. By offering you support to others, you will feel a personable connection that supports positive emotions
- Arrange a time to meet a friend who you haven’t seen in a while. You could go to the park for a picnic, go for a walk or a bike ride
- Volunteer at your local school, food bank or community group
Step 2: be active
- Search online to access some free fitness activities
- Go for a walk
- Join a local sports team
- Take part in after school clubs
- Follow the free NHS couch to 5K app
- Dance like nobody is watching!
Step 3: take notice
- Play “I Spy” on your way to school
- Try sitting outside and listing everything you hear in a 2-minute period
- Listen to a mindfulness guided meditation session
- Working from your toes to your head, take notice of how your body feels
- Tune into your senses: what can you smell? What can you taste?
- Try some new foods and notice how they taste and how your body reacts
Step 4: learn new skills
- Follow a new recipe or try some baking
- Have a go at a homework challenge
- Investigate what clubs run in your local area such as scouts or brownies; you can learn lots of great life skills there!
- Try taking up a new regular hobby like a sport, writing a daily diary or painting
Step 5: give to others
- Say thank you for something someone has done for you
- Offer to help a friend with their homework/a project
- Volunteer in your local community
- Invite a friend ‘round for dinner
- Donate unwanted or unused items to charity
- Challenge yourself to a random act of kindness
Bristol Educational Psychology service advice
The Bristol Educational Psychology service often shares resources with schools and their communities that has good evidence-based research in its benefits for mental health and wellbeing.
What is mindfulness? Mindfulness means paying full attention to something. It means slowing down to really notice what you’re doing. Being mindful is the opposite of rushing or multitasking. When you’re mindful, you’re taking your time. You’re focusing in a relaxed, easy way.
There are lots of free resources on the internet that can give you some great ideas of how you could develop some mindful practices regularly at home. Below are just some of these:
- https://positivepsychology.com/mindfulness-for-children-kids-activities/ – This website has a wide variety of ideas to begin and develop regular mindfulness at home
- https://www.waterford.org/resources/mindfulnes-activities-for-kids/ – 51 mindfulness suggestions
- https://www.headspace.com/meditation/kids – “Headspace” is an app and a website co-created by Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk. There is a free trial available but a subscription will incur costs.
Try this mindfulness breathing exercise video to help you feel calm and present. Take a deep breath in and a long exhale out – it feels good doesn’t it?
- https://youtu.be/wfDTp2GogaQ – youtube video
Where can I get support as a parent/carer?
The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families is a Children’s mental health charity. They created a fantastic short booklet providing parents with advice on how to talk about mental health and wellbeing at home, even with the youngest school-aged children.
There is a lot of information and support services available out in our community and nationally, but sometimes you need to know where to go. Below is a list of local and national support services that may be able to provide parents/carers with some further support for your child, or for yourself.
If you ever have concerns about your child’s mental health and wellbeing, please speak to their class teacher in the first instance. We want to work together and communication is the key. From here, we can work together to support individual children as needed.
- https://bristolmind.org.uk/support_type/counselling-cyp/ – Useful links to a large range of mental health support in Bristol for children
- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5uIZ2KOZZeQDQo_Gsi_qbQ – Cosmic Yoga and mindfulness
For Children aged 11+
- https://bristolmind.org.uk/support_type/counselling-cyp/ – Useful links to a large range of mental health support in Bristol for children and young adults
- https://www.otrbristol.org.uk/ (Bristol Based)
- http://www.bristolmentalhealth.org/useful-links/mental-health-services/ – Useful links to a large range of mental health support in Bristol