What is Wellbeing?
Wellbeing is all about our holistic health, including the physical and emotional. When we have good levels of wellbeing we feel that life is in balance and that we can generally cope well. We feel motivated and engaged, we’re resilient and able to deal effectively with daily troubles, as well as ’bounce back’ from life’s challenges. Good wellbeing is essential for cultivating a mentally healthy school, for retaining and motivating staff and for promoting children wellbeing and attainment.
As school staff and children juggle a multitude of different tasks and demands, it is important that everyone is given the right emotional and practical support so that they can, in turn, support others within our environment and community. In addition to having a positive impact on colleagues and children, good levels of wellbeing can improve performance and help to reduce absence, increase productivity and promote engagement.
As a school our caring ethos and environment has a major impact on the wellbeing of our staff and children. We clearly define our culture and vision, making it clear what behaviours, values and beliefs underpin it. We prioritise building a culture of trust where school staff and children feel valued, can be open about their health and wellbeing and know how to access support if they need it.
At Stone we encourage a good level of wellbeing in a number of ways.
Our vision and values are referred to throughout the day and are fully embedded within our learning environment. They are weaved into everything we do. We have created a culture of belonging.
We have school expectations instead of school rules, which are referred to throughout the school day.
We have a school council, support healthy schools and run a range of extra curriculum clubs.
In classes, we have worry boxes, teach PHSE (personally, social and health education), complete mindfulness activities such as yoga, guided meditation, breathing exercises, and walk the daily mile.
We use BLP (building Learning Power) as a strategy to promote and value things such as resilience.
We display a weekly wellbeing tip around the school for both staff and children and regularly talk about mental, physical and emotional health as part of our daily diet and routines.
Fantastic news, as a school we have been working on achieving a ‘Wellbeing Award for School’s’ and on 30th September 2019 we received this award! This award focuses on changing the long-term culture of the whole school. Using an evidence-based framework to drive change. It helps to deliver staff and pupil wellbeing, review your staff training, and revise policies. This award ensures that mental health and wellbeing sit at the heart of our school life.
Please visit https://www.awardplace.co.uk/award/was for more information. The Full ‘Wellbeing Award for Schools Impact, Best Practice and What Works document’ can be downloaded as a PDF below if you would like to read more about this.
Key Questions to Consider When Discussing Wellness with your Child
1. What five words do you think best describe you?
This question points children in the direction where they know themselves and have an idea of what other people think of them. It gives your child a good frame of reference on where she stands in her small world, which is important for moulding the right self-image.
2. What do you love doing that makes you feel happiest?
Some children will say playing video games makes them feel happiest, which is actually fine. Recent studies show that there are actually many psychological benefits of gaming. Gaming even brings spouses closer together if they participate together.
The point of this question is to direct your child’s attention to the things that makes him feel happy and open his eyes to the fact that he can actively choose to increase time spent in those activities that bring him joy. Hopefully, this will teach him to pursue activities, hobbies and even careers that make him happiest later on in life.
3. What do you know how to do that you can teach others?
This question is about teaching kids that life is not all about you, your own interests and what you can get from others. Life is about us all and what we can do to help each other.
The question helps your child feel empowered and valued. It reminds her that she is special and she has something to offer. When your child feels special and knows she has something to offer, it builds self-confidence and self-worth, and also encourages learning.
4. What is the most wonderful/worst thing that ever happened to you?
Life is not all sunshine and rainbows, but neither is it all gloom and doom. Life is a mix of good and bad experiences, and that’s what makes it so exciting.
Kids need to understand this fact early so they are mentally prepared for life. The question is about directing that awareness. It helps your child realize (from her own experience) that bad things don’t last forever.
The sun always shines after the storm, and the sunshine feels good. You also gain valuable insight into areas you can help your child get past.
5. What did you learn from the best/worst thing that’s happened to you?
An old adage says experience is the best teacher, which is true. It is important that kids extract lessons from their own experiences (both good and bad) and also from the experiences of others, including their parents.
6. Of all the things you are learning, what do you think will be the most useful when you are an adult?
This question is about reminding children that they will be adults one day and that they need to start living purposely. It is also about sensitizing your kids to where their conscience is calling them and what they should be doing right now to get there.
When your child understands the value of what he is learning and how it can help him in the future, it can motivate him to truly enjoy things like reading, studying and learning.
7. If you could travel back in time three years and visit your younger self, what advice would you give yourself?
This question can make for a fun conversation that helps you learn about (and address) past issues that hurt your child, in addition to instilling in them the habit of learning from their mistakes. The question opens up exciting avenues to talk to your kids about how to deal with disappointments and frustrations in life, while also teaching them the meaning of the expression, “making lemonade out of lemons.”
8. What are you most grateful for?
This question encourages kids to count their blessings and look at the brighter side of life. It is about teaching kids to put things into perspective, look around and appreciate what they have in life no matter how small, including family, friends, a good school and food.
This, is turn, can contribute to your child’s overall happiness, as there is a strong correlation between gratitude and happiness.
9. What do you think that person feels?
It’s easy for kids to focus solely on their own feelings and neglect to consider what other people feel. However, to build stronger relationships and avoid unnecessary conflicts in life, it is important for your child to consider what other people feel and show empathy.
Help her to develop empathy by asking her to wonder about what someone else feels. Your child will become a more compassionate, helpful and happy person just by being more considerate and empathetic. She will lead a richer, fuller life of meaning by thinking of (and often helping) others.
10. What do you think your life will be like in the future?
This question also directs children to think about the future and plan for it. It will help your child to ponder on what he wants to be when he grows up and how he’d like the world to be like when he’s older.
You will in turn discover what your child is moving toward and see how you can help him realize that dream from the conversation you have around this question.