At the beginning of the current COVID-19 pandemic we set up our TAB well-being section on the school website, pulling together information and resources. We have recently reviewed it, adding and updating information to support parents and carers both now and in the future. Please remember to be mindful that we have endeavoured to check all the suggested websites, but there are many links within them and checking them all would be impractical and impossible. We trust that our parents and carers are best placed to decide what they feel is appropriate for their child's needs.
Many of us are anxious about the news unfolding about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Even if you’re not directly affected, watching these events can be upsetting. Your child may not be watching the news, but they may still hear about these events in other ways, and this may cause anxiety for them too.
We have shared information with all of our school staff on how to talk to children about the events in an age-appropriate and sensitive way. Below is some information that we believe parents and carers may also find useful when deciding how they can answer their child's questions.
Use open-ended questions to give them the chance to tell you what they think.
Use real words and don’t shy away from the truth. Be prepared to explain and define keywords they might be hearing to help them make sense of what's going on. For example, words like invasion, missiles, sanctions, refugees etc. Use age-appropriate material such as this Newsround resource, which includes definitions.
But don’t discuss everything you hear. For example, be careful about talking about speculation around nuclear warfare. Reassure them that the chance of 'World War III' breaking out is highly unlikely.
Explain how some stories on social media may be based on rumours or inaccurate information.
Use reliable news sources like Newsround, which is age-appropriate. Watch and discuss with your child this Newsround video on spotting fake news about the crisis in Ukraine.
Remember, it’s OK not to have all the answers. Tell them that you’ll let them know when you know more. This will be an ongoing discussion.
Allow for repetition, you might have to answer the same thing again. Younger children in particular tend to repeat themselves when they’re feeling uncertain or worried.
Reassure them that they’re not the only ones feeling this way and encourage them to share their feelings with you or their teacher.
The media (television, radio, print, and the internet) play an important part in our lives. The media can inform and educate us and our children. Unfortunately, the media coverage of a traumatic event also has the potential to upset and confuse. There are many ways that parents can help children understand media coverage of traumatic events and manage their exposure.
When the children returned in September we began a whole-school focus to help the children learn about, recognise and understand their emotions and begin to find strategies to regulate those emotions themselves. This was based on the ‘Zones of Regulation’ by Leah M. Kuypers. Each class teacher incorporates this into their timetable throughout the year and encourages the children to talk about the various ‘Zones’ they find themselves in throughout the day.
We wanted the children to understand that everyone encounters different emotions but it is the situation they find themselves in that can cause difficulty, not the emotion itself. To help the children we began by discussing feelings using this clip Inside Out: Guessing the feelings. You will probably recognise this from the film ‘Inside Out’.
We are helping the children to create a toolbox that they can use to regulate their emotions (some classes are currently at different stages in this process). If your child is struggling to regulate their emotions, you may find the resources below useful to discuss with your child and to create your own toolboxes that can work at home. In class, they are encouraged to think about the tool that they need to use to get them back to the appropriate zone for the activity they need to do.
This is a really useful resource explaining the Zones of Regulation.
We have a commitment to wellbeing at TAB and have, for some time, used the ‘Five ways to Wellbeing’ ethos to improve outcomes for our whole community. You may already be aware of this, but if not here is a good place to start.
Physical tools for reducing anxiety written by Mel Newton and Fliss McHale.
As a school we are also aware that some primary school children will self-harm, we are aware that this can be quite shocking for parents/carers to discover. West Sussex has invested in training and advice for professionals and within this advice is the document below.
Starving the Anxiety Gremlin 5-9 (Kate Collins-Donnelly) older version also available
Starving the Anger Gremlin 5-9 (Kate Collins-Donnelly) older version also available
The Huge Bag of Worries (Virginia Ironside) - younger children
What to Do When You Worry Too Much (Dawn Huebner PHD)
What to Do When Your Temper Flares (Dawn Huebner PHD)
Help I’ve got an Alarm Bell Going Off in my Head (K.L Aspden)- older children- particularly those who have experienced trauma/ have pronounced anxiety
The Invisible String (Patrice Karst) - for young children who may be missing contact with significant people in their lives.
Beyond Toddlerdom (Dr Christopher Green) - has some short, practical advice sections on sibling conflict and routines
A site created for young people, carers and professionals to pool together resources from across the internet that are available to help support your mental health and wellbeing. There is a collection of downloadable self-help guides, websites, Apps (some chargeable), videos and recommended books.
Here is some information that although were created for home learning during the pandemic have strategies that support parents with homework.