Social and Emotional Wellbeing
Social and emotional wellbeing is essential for our overall health and wellbeing. Being socially and emotionally well means being able to realise your abilities, cope with the normal stresses of life and work productively. The wellbeing of all our children here at Shavington Primary is of the upmost importance to us all. With this in mind, several interventions are accessible to our children depending on each of their needs.
The following gives you an insight to each of the interventions and the benefits of them.
Each child develops at different rates, physically, mentally and socially. Sometimes they may need a helping hand with their social skills, and what a better place to get assistance with this is school. Providing them with a safe environment to grow. Developing social skills in children prepares them for a lifetime of healthier interactions in all aspects of life Social skills are an integral part of functioning is society. Being able to display good manner, communicate effectively with other, being considerate of the feelings of others and expressing personal needs are all important components of solid social skills
The sessions that we do, can either be group or on a one to one basis, depending on their needs. This is done over several weeks including various activities, covering the following areas;
Getting to know each other
What are Social skills and why do we need them ?
Having conversations with different people
Knowing who your family and friends are
Completing and all ‘about me booklet’
Self-esteem- who am I? what do I look like? things about me
Relationships - friends, peers, family, etc.
Emotions - what they are and how to deal with them
ARTiculate has been designed by The British Association of Art Therapists to help us facilitate children’s emotional literacy through using art. ARTiculate is not Art Therapy but is the therapeutic use of art to support emotional literacy. The program has been designed to support learning and to be a pleasant experience for the child where they are listened to and their views, feelings and art expressions are welcomed and respected. These sessions are carried out on a 1:1 basis with children that have been identified with needing additional support. It can be used as a “stand alone” session or over a few weeks or longer, depending on each child’s need. Each child’s needs are different so well-being that they gain from the sessions will also differ, the following are some of the benefits from the intervention.
Stimulate imagination and creativity
Support relationship building
Increase self-esteem and confidence
Support emotional literacy
Enable the identification and naming of feelings
Help children understand and manage their feelings
The term ‘self-esteem’ is used a lot in connection with wellbeing and resilience. This is because self-esteem is about the way you feel about yourself. If children have good feelings about themselves, they are likely to be positive and confident. Self-esteem helps children to overcome setbacks and cope with difficult situations. This makes a difference to their overall resilience.
Self-esteem is not something that people are born with. It begins early on in childhood and the first step of the process is for children to learn about who they are and what they like. In our sessions we look at building the Self-esteem of each of the children, again this may be done on a 1:1 or as a group. We look at working on;
- valuing themselves
- better relationships
- understanding other people
- managing their emotions
Did you know?
Feeling good about yourself affects your physical as well as mental health. Positive feelings generate a range of chemicals in the brain. Some of these are responsible for mood while others appear to make a difference to the immune system.
Anxiety is a word we use to describe feelings of unease, worry and fear. It incorporates both the emotions and the physical sensations we might experience when we are worried or nervous about something. Although we usually find it unpleasant, anxiety is related to the ‘fight or flight’ response – our normal biological reaction to feeling threatened.
We all know what it’s like to feel anxious from time to time. It’s common to feel tense, nervous and perhaps fearful at the thought of a stressful event or decision you’re facing – especially if it could have a big impact on your life. The way we look at this is by;
Understanding our anxious feelings
Learning to relax
Identifying our worrying thoughts
Facing our fears
Every child is unique and will cope with the death of someone important in their own way. We realise that grief is exhausting for everyone but is eased if everyone can do it together and muddle through best, they can. You can do a huge amount by carrying on as much as you can with the usual routines of home, schools and times with friends and family.
It’s important that extra care is taken by the adults around them, as they need to know they are still loved and will be continued to be looked after despite what has happened. As adults it is natural for us to want to protect, but children have a much greater capacity to deal with the harsh realities of life than we realise, if we tell them in an appropriate way. Even the very sad truth will be better than uncertainty and confusion. What a child does not know they will make up and their fantasies can be very distressing to them and difficult to deal with.
We need to be as truthful as we can with our children, with the words we use. The word ‘dead’ or ‘death’ may seem harsh words to use but some of the other words we use, such as ‘gone to sleep’, ’passed away’ or ’lost’ can be very misleading and confusing to children. We encourage children to find things that are lost and if the associate going to sleep as dying, this commonly causes anxiety at bedtime. Saying a person ‘went away’ may cause a child to feel abandoned or that they did something wrong and is no longer loved.
Children can also be bereaved when their family unit breaks down, although this differs from someone dying, children still feel those same emotions. Some struggle with understanding what has gone on and the change that has happened within their family. Again, honesty with children is important, as mentioned earlier, the sad truth is better than the uncertainty and confusion. But most of all they need to know that they are still loved and will continued to be.
What I do with each child that I work with, who is bereaved from someone they know has died or the breakdown of their family, differs as each is unique as is their circumstance. I build a relationship with the children first so that they feel more comfortable and relaxed, this can be done through share activities. There is no pressure to express their powerful feelings and emotions, so doing these activities helps to takes that pressure off. In time the children start to share their feelings and emotions, which I explain to them are all natural, and we will work together learning how to deal with them and what is best for them. Always listening to them and moving at their pace and never judging. Grief is a very personal experience and each child is affected to a greater or less degree, it something we must learn to live with and accept.
Contacting the school to let them know about your circumstances will be dealt with professionally and will help us to support your child's needs.
Please find below some useful links that may help you.
Child Bereavement UK support and information.
One of the books I use to work through with your child sometimes is called “Muddle, Puddles and Sunshine”. It has some nice activities for you and your child to do together.
It is from a charity that supports bereaved families in and around Cheshire called Elsie Ever After.
One of the ways that we help our children foster wellbeing and resilience is by providing them with the right environment to learn and grow. This helps the children to develop strong positive feelings about themselves. We not only want our children to feel safe while they are in our care, but we want them to express their feelings in a positive way, as well as learn about their capabilities. They are given the opportunities to try out new skills and activities without worrying about failing.