Child and Family Wellbeing
Child and Family Wellbeing during the COVID19 outbreak.
The current coronavirus pandemic is a serious source of worry to adults and children alike for multiple reasons. Many specialist providers have developed resources to help support mental health and wellbeing specifically with the current circumstances in mind. A number of them are signposted here and more will be added as they become available. Previously highlighted resources also remain useful. Support from school in this area also remains possible during the closure. If you feel that you or child need extra support please contact us via the Faith and Family Support Officer contact form at the bottom of this page.
During this time our School Nurse Emma Higham has also made her contact details available directly to parents. Please be aware that Emma covers many schools and her availability will also be subject to change. However, at present her intention is to be able to try and answer your query within 2 working days.
School Nurse contact details:
Tel: 0161 912 2340
Online Safety and Safeguarding During Isolation
Since the Coronavirus lockdown the National Crime Agency has reported an increase in on-line crime involving children. There has also been an increase in incidents of domestic violence. Various agencies have produced resources to help families stay safe during isolation. Use the links below to find help. If you feel you or your children are in immediate danger call 999 and ask for the police.
Supporting Children’s Social and Emotional Wellbeing as Social Distancing Continues
There is much that each one of us can do to support the wellbeing of those in our lives, including children and young people who may already be vulnerable or suffering from mental health difficulties.
During a health scare, particularly one of these proportions, it's natural to be worried.
Children are generally very resilient and, in a loving and nurturing environment, will often
work through problems and difficult times without needing too much additional help. These
exercises will help your child explore, express and explain their worries and open up the
conversation with you.
Ask your child (or children) to lie down on a rug or carpet with plenty of room around them and ask them to close their eyes. Slowly read these instructions to them in a calm, quiet voice.
1. Breathe in through your nose. Hold your breath for a few seconds, then breathe out. Take another
deep breath in through your nose. Imagine your tummy is a balloon filling with air. Breathe out slowly and let the air escape quietly like a leaky balloon.
2. Stretch out your legs in front of you, and point your toes. Stretch out your arms either side of you,
stretching all the way to your fingertips. Concentrate on feeling the ends of your fingertips.
3. Now you are going to tense all the muscles in your body. Begin with your toes. Curl them over so
they are clenched. Then think about tensing the muscles all the way up your legs. Then the
muscles in your tummy. Make it as hard as a wall.
4. Now tense your arms as well, so your arms are by your sides and even your fists are clenched. Bring your shoulders up around your ears.
5. Now scrunch up your face. Push your lips together and frown down into your face so your
forehead is all crinkled.
6. Make your body go limp again. Think about each part of your body in turn going limp and relaxed: your face, your shoulders, your arms, your tummy, your legs and your toes. Imagine yourself as a floppy rag doll.
7. Take a deep breath in through your nose and breathe out again, Notice how relaxed and calm you feel. When you are ready open your eyes. It might take children a few times to take it seriously if they are not used to doing this, but you will be surprised to find that it can work, many teachers use these kind of exercises in class. To help your child get used to the order of the instructions swap places with them and allow them to read the instructions. Let them be teacher. You might find it helps you too!
One important point is not to wait until you see your child being anxious and stressed to try
this exercise. It might be a little late. Build it in your day as a regular event, perhaps to
prepare them for a few minutes of quality learning.
The Worry Jar
Make a worry jar to help contain your child's worries.
It can be a drawing or an actual jar. It is better for younger children in particular if it is a real jar as this involves a physical, real action. Ask members of your family what they are worrying about. Get them to write it down to help younger children to write it down, perhaps on a small piece of paper like a post-it note. Together fill up the jar with your
worries. When you have finished, put the lid on to stop the worries getting out again. Or leave the jar in a communal place with pieces of paper and a pencil nearby like a suggestion box. This might work for older children who
might feel hesitant to talk. If you notice new worries going in the jar you might get a chance to read them and address them.
A brilliant way into opening a conversation is beginning with "I am wondering if you..." Sometimes all that is needed, though, is to acknowledge the worry.
For younger children many schools use cuddly toys that "eat" the worries,
called Worry Monsters. See this YouTube video:
Your child may already have a cuddly toy or a pyjama holder that could do this job rather than buying a new one.
Continuing to Cope with Lockdown
(Some ideas from No Worries! By Dr Sharrie Coombes, Studio Press)
It is really important to remember to find ways to be positive, to remember good things and
give your children things to look forward to, particularly as the lockdown doesn't have a fixed
end date yet. To children it might feel like this is going to go on forever. We tend not to be
good at being positive. Our children need us to be the over the top positive.
Post-it notes are brilliant for a quick visual impact. Try using them for displays on:
What they are looking forward to when the Lockdown is over.
What your child likes about school
What your child likes about their friends – name of child – nice comment
The whole family writes 3 post-it notes about what they like about each person in the house and then stick them on a piece of paper with that person's name. It is surprising how good we feel reading nice things about ourselves.
Keep the displays up and use them to remind your children if you spot them feeling low.
Follow a routine
Follow a routine and keep to it. It can be any routine, a totally new one if you wish, it doesn’t matter. But make sure everyone in your family knows the routine. Children like structure and routine no matter how much they appear to grumble about it! You might even set them cleaning jobs!
Go to https://www.elsa-support.co.uk/ for details of this 14 day challenge. There are some lovely ideas that you can complete as a family.Taken from Lancashire SEND Specialist Teacher Parent SEND Resource Toolkit
Other places to find help and ideas:
Reducing Anxiety and Maintaining Wellbeing During Isolation Book Resources
‘How to NOT go to School’
Written by a teacher to help children in his class, this short book is available to all parents to use with their children. Parsley Mimblewood is a home-schooled kid who sees herself as something of an expert on “How to NOT go to School”. The story follows her daily whimsical adventures along with her 11 animals and 7 imaginary friends. Each chapter explores an issue that might be weighing on children’s minds at the moment such as missing friends, dealing with emotions and feeling cooped up. It is free to download as a pdf. parsleymimblewood.wordpress.com/
The Huge Bag of Worries.
By Virginia Ironside
A funny and reassuring story for children who are a bit prone to worrying. It offers through the story a strategy for managing mild worries.
What to do when you worry too much
by Dawn Huebner
A book that we use in school quite a lot and find useful. A helpful guide to managing anxiety presented in a child friendly way. We have also used others in the "What to do when" series. Titles include What To Do When You Dread Your Bed and What To Do When Your Temper Flares.
by Dr. Sharie Coombes
This is an interactive self-care activity book for children aged 7+ to colour and doodle their way to happiness, calm and confidence.
My Hidden Chimp
By Prof Steve Peters
Based on the book The Chimp Paradox, another book we use a lot in school and find very helpful. It aims to present a series of "tips" to help children learn healthy habits for negotiating life and relationships.
Links to Wellbeing and Mental Health Resources for Parents and Carers during the COVID19 outbreak
SEND Resources during Covid-19
Our non-covid related resources remain relevant
Children's Mental Health and Wellbeing / Parenting advice
The wellbeing of our children is a priority at Bowdon Church School. Several Mindfulness activities have been introduced by class teachers and these work alongside a number of pastoral and therapeutic groups available to children by referral. Groups and interventions available include Lego Therapy, Nurture groups, Pet Therapy, Expressive Art and 1:1 active listening (Please see below for more details). Mindfulness activities used in school are sympathetic to our Christian Values and the children are encouraged to use them along with prayer and reflection.
Faith and Family Support Officer
We are very much aware of the pressure on families and have an increasing number of parents asking for advice with their children at home. Some of these requests can be met by the school nurse or special needs team but some come down to help with parenting and children’s behaviour at home.
Mrs Power as our 'Faith and Family Support Officer' co-ordinates the pastoral care on offer at Bowdon Church School and works to support children, parents and staff. Mrs Power is an experienced, qualified teacher and a qualified paediatric nurse with both clinical and academic experience.
Mrs Power's role involves the following:
- developing our church links
developing faith, prayer and worship in school
supporting families with children’s behaviour at home
supporting parents needing advice
supporting children’s wellbeing and mental health
supporting the perpetrators of unkind and bullying type behaviours
supporting the targets of unkind and bullying type behaviours
If you feel you would like to contact Mrs Power about any of the above please use the contact form below.
Support remains available through Covid19 while many of our pupils remain homeschooling.
What is on offer at Bowdon Church School to support children and families?
Pastoral groups offer a nurturing and supportive space for children to focus on their social and emotional needs. The content of the groups is tailored to the needs of the individuals in the group. However, groups usually focus on developing social and emotional literacy. The aim of the groups is to help equip the children with the support, knowledge and skills they need to develop strategies to manage social situations, including school. A key intended outcome is the minimisation of any social, emotional or behavioural issues that may be causing barriers to children's learning in school.
1:1 Active Listening
Staff are available for children to express their worries to at all times. However, for some children a short, pre-arranged time to talk over concerns or work on strategies with a specified adult can be beneficial.
A fun, CBT based activity that builds social and emotional resilience in children and young people. Offered by trained members of staff on a referral basis.
Our trained therapy dog Alfie is available for consultation by referral.
Lego® therapy is a social development program for children particularly beneficial for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other social communication difficulties. It uses children's love of playing with Lego® to help develop communication and social skills.
Expressive Art Groups
Expressive art allows children to put their feelings into artwork, giving children a safe outlet for emotions through an enjoyable activity while supporting development of artistic, expressive and fine motor skills.
A specific programme of activities available to selected children to help assist with remaining relaxed and focused.
Support at Lunchtimes
A variety of activities are available at lunchtimes to support any child who may sometimes prefer a more structured environment or a calmer space during this time. Activities available at different times of the week include: board games drop-in club, prayer and contemplation drop-in, art club and calm space in the reflection room.
Individual consultations and advice for parents
For more information contact Mrs Power using the contact form below.
Advertised intermittently via Parentmail or contact Mrs Power using the form below to express an interest.
By Referrral to outside agencies:
The School Nursing Service
Find out more information at: https://www.trafforddirectory.co.uk/kb5/trafford/fsd/service.page?id=iisjjIlFiZI
Trafford Sunrise Psychology Services
More information available at: https://www.justpsychology.co.uk/pages/28-trafford-sunrise
Information available at: https://www.trafforddirectory.co.uk/kb5/trafford/fsd/advice.page?id=zkk5r6JjZqA
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
For more information on the support on offer at Bowdon Church School click the icon below:
Further sources of help and support
For more information on what support is available from other agencies in Trafford please click the link below:
Useful links and resources
The Counselling and Family Centre
A Counselling service with a location in Altrincham https://www.thecfc.org.uk/counselling-services
Care for the Family
A Christian charity offering parenting, marriage and bereavement support for families https://www.careforthefamily.or
Support for bereaved children https://www.winstonswish.org/
Faith and Family Support Officer Contact Form
Please use this form to make initial contact with Mrs Power about any concerns. Please expect 2 working days for a response. Support remains available during Covid 19 while many of our pupils remain homeschooling.