HEALTH & WELLBEING
As you know, the positive physical and mental health and wellbeing of our children is the single most important focus at St. Stephen's. Supported, happy children learn and thrive and with this in mind, we have a number of resources available to our whole school community that we'd like to share.
Please scroll down to find a wealth of guides, information, programmes and handy tips to help keep you and your children in the very best of physical and mental health.
Every boy needs a positive male role model in their life, and especially during childhood. This relationship is most commonly filled by their dad but when this isn’t possible, another significant man in a boy’s life could take this place.
MAN&BOY offer a number of opportunities designed to build trust and confidence between men & boys, to create strong and positive relationships. The video gives you a flavour of how MAN&BOY works.
MAN&BOY recognises that ALL children, regardless of age or gender can benefit hugely from the positive, on-going involvement of a significant adult male in their lives and research has shown that this involvement has proven benefits. Improvements in educational attainment, increased self-esteem, better health outcomes as well as improved behaviour are all identified as potential positive outcomes.
MAN&BOY currently concentrates on supporting boys aged between 9 and 12 ( school years 5,6,7 & 8 ) as we believe that this transition from junior to secondary school is particularly important in a boy’s life and that a supportive, encouraging male role model can make a huge difference to their self-esteem.
We are planning to offer two courses, two camps and half-day events again from April-July 2021.
Exercise those Demons Away
Resistance can be a sign of anxiety. So many children are saying no right now, whilst their parents tear their hair out. We’re in the middle of the most anxiety-provoking time globally our children (and us!) have ever experienced. Many children are hyper-aroused, and they show this with anger and resistance. If parents react with anger, then the child becomes even more anxious and more resistant.
It’s a time where parents need to take a deep breath and stay calm, even whilst their children shout and rage. Seeing a tantrum as a panic attack can help us to stay compassionate even when faced by outrageous and unreasonable behaviour.
Help children manage their anxiety by providing space for them to talk about their feelings. Talk about how anxiety is a normal human reaction in this situation, and many millions of people are worrying and having trouble sleeping right now. The best thing we know for anxiety is exercise, and many children are doing less exercise now that they are stuck in. There are exercise apps for smartphones and exercise games on consoles. Put some music on and dance. If they say no, you do it anyway. One day they may join in.
Not only is physical activity integral to a child’s physical health, but it is also critical for their mental health. Physical activity pumps blood through the body and provide energy for thinking and creating, which leads to increased performance in the classroom.
So how can you get those kids up and about? Keep reading for some entertaining ideas.
15 fun fitness activities for kids
Getting kids to “work out” can be challenging. But there’s no need to stick to run-of-the-mill, boring exercises like jumping jacks, push-ups and sprints. We put together a list of some fun and creative fitness activities for kids that will get them moving in no time at all.
1. Go on a bear hunt
“I’m Going on a Bear Hunt”? While this song can easily be sung while sitting on a tree stump at camp, there’s also opportunity to make the whole song more active. Act out the different motions: swim across the lake, climb up the tree and stomp over the bridge. This activity gets especially entertaining when you’re scurrying away from the bear at the end.
2. Play follow the leader
This classic game never gets old, and you don’t need any equipment to play. Let your kiddos take turns being the leader, directing the others to match their every move. Encourage them to get active by hopping, skipping, crawling, shuffling and using their imaginations.
3. Have a dance party
Pop in your favourite tunes, crank up the volume and get moving and grooving! For extra fun, kill the lights and turn on some fun lighting, like a disco ball or some lava lamps. Kids can compete for best dance move, or you can simply make up a dance to an entire song.
4. Create a scavenger hunt
Hide things all over the backyard or throughout the house and have kids race to find each clue. If you want to sneak even more exercise into this activity, include requirements with each clue, like “Do four cartwheels before moving on,” or “Make up a funny dance.” This activity is fun because it can be elaborate and long or short and sweet.
5. Use a Wii Fit
What a wonderful world of technology we live in today. Instead of letting your kids sit for hours in front of the television playing video games, leverage that love for technology and get them going with a Wii Fit game! There are all sorts of fun and active kids’ games out there such as Just Dance Kids, Nickelodeon Fit and many more!
6. Draw a maze in the garden
Chalk can help you create beautiful masterpieces, but it can also assist in some fun fitness activities. Draw an elaborate, detailed maze all over the garden, then let your little ones run (or race) through it! This activity encourages fitness and creativity at the same time!
7. Animal walks
Use your imaginations to come up with different types of animal walks! Imitate bears walking, or run fast like a cheetah. Waddle like a penguin, or pretend to swim through the ocean like a dolphin.
8. Have pillow fight
It’s an age-old activity, and pretty much every little kid’s dream! We recommend using pillows other than the feather-filled versions, unless you enjoy having a house covered in feathers.
9. Make an obstacle course
Using couch cushions, pots and pans, and plenty of other household objects, construct an engaging and challenging obstacle course. Kids can climb under blankets stretched between the couch and coffee table, or they can somersault across the living room. Take this kind of play outside if you want more room to move around.
10. Wheelbarrow or crab walk races
These tough, yet funny positions are both fun to attempt and hilarious to watch. Have kids race from one end of the yard to another, or time a pair to see how long it takes them to wheelbarrow around the house three times.
11. Clean-up race
What could be better than fun exercises for kids that benefit both their bodies and your house? Pick a room or assign the whole house and see which kid can clean up the most. This exercise is practical enough that you could employ a “clean-up race” in your kids’ rooms every day.
12. Go for a hike or nature walk
Who says walking long distances has to be boring? Pick a scenic trail, strap on your hiking boots and explore the outdoors! Go for a nature walk in a park, by a pond, or in the woods and investigate the landscape. Do a little research beforehand, and the exercise doubles as an academic lesson.
13. Red light, green light
It’s an oldie, but a goody! Play the “red light, green light” game in the garden, and help kids exercise and learn about following directions. Add colour visuals by making a red or green sign to help children learn about colour as well!
14. Hula Hooping:
For some reason, children love hula hoops!
Get your children some hula hoops and start hooping with them. Just teach them how to do it and we promise you that they won’t be able to get enough.
15. Blow off that steam!
We’re used to the tantrums our kids throw, right? What if I told you that you asking them to throw these temper tantrums on purpose when they’re in a good mood will actually help them both psychologically and physically?
It may sound a bit crazy, but when they kick and run and jump and scream, they’re getting tired out because of the energy they’re spending.
This also helps them get out all their pent up anger and emotion without them even realising it.
It’s time to get moving
Now you know that exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Start implementing these ideas into your child’s routine and emphasise the importance of being active. These activities may seem silly, but you’ll start laying the groundwork for a healthy, happy life.
By keeping active, even in the simplest ways, children can support each part of their body and their brain for optimum learning and growth.
Lockdown Learning and Children’s Emotional Wellbeing: I can’t do it, I won’t do it, I don’t care
Following last month's free, online Lockdown Learning - Primary School Workshop, the Richmond Children and Young People's Wellbeing Service has shared with us the Questions posed by those who attended the Q&A session.
They've included helpful tips and ideas and have also included links to the workshop itself to help to illustrate their responses. Please click here to see the Questions for Lockdown Learning.
The workshop covered: -
- The challenges of lockdown learning
- Emotional regulation
- Sensory regulation
- Practical tools to help address common emotional/behavioural challenges
The views of parents, children and young people receiving SEN Support
Achieving for Children would like to hear the views of children/young people and parents/carers who have a child or young person receiving support from a setting/school/college for a special educational need (SEN Support - this is the level of support for a child or young person who does not have an EHC Plan).
This feedback will feed into continued improvements to best support children and young people.
Adults, parents and carers - Please click here here to feedback your views.
Children - please click here to feedback your views.
The Wandsworth Education Wellbeing Practitioners & Battersea Education Wellbeing Service
The Wandsworth Education Wellbeing Practitioners are offering a free online talk, open to all parents and carers of primary school children who would like to build their confidence and learn some practical skills around helping children manage fears and worries. All children (and adults!) worry at times, it’s perfectly normal and even useful to do so sometimes. However, if your child often gets stuck with worries and can’t seem to move on, or if you as a parent would just like to feel more skilled at managing when your child seems worried then please do register and join us.
This talk will be offered twice, once on Thursday 4th February at 2pm and once on Friday 5th February at 9.30am. It will be the same talk on each day so please only register for your preferred time using the link below:
Practical steps to help children manage their fears and worries:
The Battersea Education Wellbeing Service are offering a parent workshop, which will focus on how to better understand the challenges children are currently facing and how to use a range of creative strategies to support them to express their feelings. This workshop may be particularly helpful for the parents of children who struggle to talk about or communicate how they feel, particularly when distressed or overwhelmed.
Creativity, Communication and Connection. Understanding the challenges children are facing and using creative therapeutic strategies to support children to communicate and express their feelings (for parents of primary school children)
We works closely with Child and Young People’s Wellbeing Service. The service offers a variety of resources and workshops for families who may need support.
They recently ran a parent workshop – Supporting your Child with Anxiety – and have uploaded this to their YouTube channel. https://youtu.be/mxVpykpZGko
You can also click on the workbook below to find out more:
Achieving for Children have launched a new Resource Hub to help children, young people and their families with their emotional wellbeing. Waiting times for support are increasing and it is important that a wider range of support is available for children and young people when they need it.
These online self help resources include pre-recorded video workshops, helplines, online counselling and information leaflets.
We will be adding further information regularly so do keep checking back or if you have any suggestions do get in touch.
The Resource Hub is set out under themes to help you understand which services and support is available or might be useful under different circumstances. Each heading below is a link to the sections in the Resource Hub.
Growth Mindset Programme for schools
The Emotional Health Service have developed a 10 week programme around growth mindset and resilience for schools to send out to parents and young people there is a different version for primary and secondary.
Please click here to find the first of three pre-recorded workshops for parents and carers.
Primary Resources Primary
Supporting children and young people through bereavement and loss in relation to COVID-19
AC Education have been working with their face to face trainers to provide thoughts on coping with the current situation. This free video from Christina Enright talks about supporting children and adolescents through bereavement and loss in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Click here to view.
Wellbeing Guidance while the school is closed
The school closures are out of the ordinary for all of us, but for those children with anxiety or additional needs, it can be really upsetting. Please read on to find some resources that may be helpful for parent carers of children and young people.
- Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families - Top tips to help families work together and support one another during the coronavirus outbreak
- National Autistic Society – guidance and helpline for parents’, young people and staff:https://www.autism.org.uk/services/nas-schools/vanguard/news/2020/march/coronavirus-(covid-19)-advice.aspx
- Mencap - Easy Read guide to Coronavirus: https://www.mencap.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-03/Information%20about%20Coronavirus%20ER%20SS2.pdf
- Place2Be – Guide to helping parents answer questions from their children and to support family wellbeing: https://www.place2be.org.uk/about-us/news-and-blogs/2020/march/coronavirus-information-for-children/
- Young Minds - Talking to your child about Coronavirus and 10 tips from their Parents Helpline to support family wellbeing: https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus/
- Carers UK - Guidance for carers: https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/health/looking-after-your-health/coronavirus-covid-19
- Covibook – an interactive resource designed to support and reassure children aged 7 and under, designed to help children explain and draw the emotions that they might be experiencing during the pandemic: https://www.mindheart.co/descargables
- Amaze - information pack for parents https://amazesussex.org.uk/faqs-about-the-coronavirus-for-parent-carers-of-children-with-send-brighton-hove/
- Public Health England have produced an easy read version of their Advice on the coronavirus for places of education. You can download it here.
Please click here for a guide to wellbeing and SEND services and support.
You can also click here for further information fro the NHS about Coronavirus and how to protect your mental health.