Sometimes life can be challenging for both children and adults and that can affect our wellbeing and mental health. At Wootton Bassett Infants we believe that being mentally healthy is vital for us to cope with day-to-day life and that wellbeing needs to be a high priority in order for children to be ready for learning. On this page we will be sharing ideas about how to support your own and your child's wellbeing and mental health.
What is mental health?
Mental health is a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. (World Health Organization)
How can I help my child with their mental health?
1. Make conversations about mental health a normal part of life: Anywhere is a good place to talk; in the car, walking the dog or cooking together. Model everyday talk about feelings such as by talking about a book or TV character’s feelings.
2. Give your full attention: We all know it’s horrible to be half listened to. Keep eye contact, focus on the child and ignore distractions.
3. Check your body language: Try to keep it open and relaxed and make sure you come down to the child’s level.
4. Take it seriously: Don’t downplay what the child is saying or tell them they’re “just being silly”. Resist the urge to reassure them that everything is fine.
5. Ask open questions: Such as “How did your day go today?” This will help to extend the conversation.
6. Calmly stay with the feelings that arise: It can be our automatic reaction to steer away from difficult emotions.
7. Offer empathy rather than solutions: Show that you accept what they are telling you but don’t try to solve the problem.
8. Remember we are all different: Respect and value the child’s feelings, even though they may be different to yours.
9. Look for clues about feelings: Listen to the child’s words, tone of voice and body language.
10. Some ways to start a conversation about feelings might be: “How are you feeling at the moment?” “You don’t seem your usual self. Do you want to talk about it?” “I’m happy to listen if you need a chat.”
Where can I get support and information?
We want all adults and children to feel that they can come to speak to us about any worries or concerns that they may have. There is support that we can offer in school and we will do our upmost to provide this. However, sometimes it may be the case that we feel more suitable support can be found elsewhere and we can signpost you to the correct organisation or professional.
Please find below some helpful websites and organisations that can offer support with mental health.