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Wellbeing News and Information

The Importance of Sleep

As a school we have been learning about the importance of making healthy life choices.  It may shock you to know how much sleep is recommended for children of primary age by the NHS. 

3-5 year olds 10-13 hours a night 

6-13 year olds 9-11 hours a night

 

We all know that sleep is important to us as it is the time that our bodies repair themselves and our brains can story memories, information and learning but what can we do if our children are finding it difficult to get to sleep.  place 2Be have again offered some helpful information.  

 

 

Things you can try

  1. Present a calm and confident approach to bedtime

    It’s really common for bedtime to be a challenge – and calm is probably the last thing any of us feel!

    But you do need to find a way to seem calm and confident, even if you’re stressed underneath. That way, your child is more likely to be calm.

    One way to reduce your stress levels is to remember that lots of children find sleep difficult, and that’s very natural.

     

     

  2. Check you’ve taken all the practical steps you can

    When your child is having trouble sleeping you need to pay extra attention to a few things.

    Make sure they:

    • get fresh air and exercise in the daytime
    • get to spend a little time with you after school each day that is not eating or doing homework. They need a chance to reconnect with you and feel that you are focused on them.
    • have a night light on or a door left open if they are scared of the dark or anxious about being alone.

    Make sure they don't:

    • eat sugary foods and drinks or drinks with caffeine in
    • use laptops, tablets and phones close to bedtime
    • watch scary books, films and TV before bedtime.
  3. Think about emotional reasons that could be making it harder for your child to sleep.

    Children take different amounts of time to learn to go to sleep on their own. For many this is just a natural process. But sometimes there are other things going on, that makes it even harder for them.

    Take a bit of time to think about it – you know your child best!

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  4. Set up a bedtime routine

    It doesn’t matter what bedtime routine you choose - you can include bath-time, a story, a song, hair-brushing, teeth-cleaning– any little soothing rituals that work for you.

    Make sure the routine is:

    • The same every night
    • At the same time every night – try and choose a time that fits with when your child is naturally sleepy.

    When your child doesn’t fall asleep easily, and is distressed when you leave them repeat the following steps.

    • Kiss them goodnight and promise to come back. Come back almost immediately and give them another kiss goodnight. Repeat this all the time they stay in bed and with longer gaps as they settle more easily.
    • Whenever your child gets up, try to avoid engaging in conversation and simply take them back to bed. You may need to do this several nights before they learn not to get up.

    If you’ve tried anything like this, you’ll know it can be really emotional for the caregiver and hard to get through. But stick with it! Calm persistence really does pay off.

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  5. Keep going!

    Remember there is often no quick fix to bedtime difficulties so be kind to yourself.

    Every time I think I’m ready to give up, I remind myself why it’s worth the effort.

     

     

     

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  6. Your child is unique and we hope there are some takeaways here that work for you. If you’re looking for help parenting children with additional needs, you can get specific advice from specialist organisations. Check out our list of support that we can recommend.

Talking to Children about the tricky subject of war and conflict

Some of our children are beginning to express their concerns about the conflict in Russia.  We have decided to take the advice of Somerset County Council and are raising funds for the Red Cross, a non-political charity who offers support to people in need.  We have also found this advice on how to talk to children to about the conflict. 

When war or conflict is in the news, it can cause feelings such as fear, sadness and anxiety for children, young people and adults. Place2Be’s Educational Psychologists share their advice on how to talk to children and young people about war and conflict, and support them if they’re struggling with the news.

As teachers, parents and carers, it is impossible to protect children from frightening and confusing world events, such as war and conflict. We can, however:

  • Create a sense of safety at home and school
  • Find ways to cope together with uncertainty
  • Be hopeful for peace and safety for all
  • Be compassionate
  • Look after our own wellbeing and seek support as we support others

When talking to children and young people about war, it is important to take into account their age, stage of development and whether they have special educational needs, additional support needs or other needs that may make them more vulnerable.

Here are some things you may find helpful:

  • Try to find out what your children already know about the situation, and how they found out about it. Reinforce the importance of getting their news from a reputable source, such as the BBC. You could look at reliable news sources together. Newsround is child friendly and cover news reports sensitively
  • Encourage young people to access a range of media content that they normally enjoy. This will help guard against overexposure to news and ‘doom-scrolling’.
  • Children may be exposed to explicit images that can trigger fear responses. Let them know that you are open to talking about what they have seen or heard.
  • Be open to talking with children about the war, but say that you may not have all the answers. If you are unsure, say that you don’t know. Acknowledge uncertainty and validate the feelings that arise from uncertainty. For example, “It sounds like you are unsure and are worried about what could happen next”.
  • Young children may not talk directly about war, but their fears might come out in play. You can join their play to help them explore their feelings.
  • Ask children about their feelings about the war. For example, they may feel worried, frightened, angry or confused or a whole range of other emotions. Listen to their feelings and acknowledge them as valid, rather than minimising them.
  • At the same time, reassure your child that parents and carers at home, and teachers at school, are there to keep them safe and that many people around the world are working hard to try to resolve the conflict.
  • Encourage children to think about the things they can be more certain about and influence, and to look after their own wellbeing. For example, they can still play, learn, be with their friends, listen to music, play sport etc.
  • Children with existing mental health needs and/or SEND/ASN may need some extra support. This resource from Phoenix Education Consultancy may be useful.
  • Children who have family and friends in war-torn countries may feel particularly upset. Children from all communities will need compassion, support and to feel safe. You may need to monitor how people in school (and beyond) are responding to classmates, colleagues and families from the communities most directly affected.
  • Be aware of children and families who are refugees and have fled conflict, as recent events may be particularly poignant for them.
  • If children want to help, encourage their concern and compassion. This might include raising funds, campaigning for peace, posting messages of hope etc.
  • Children who have members of their families in the armed forces are likely to fear for the safety of their loved ones. Be mindful that these children may need additional space, time and support. Further information and resources are available from Little Troopers.

Children’s ability to cope is influenced by their teachers, parents, carers and other important adults in their lives. It is important that you look after your own mental health and seek support if you feel overwhelmed.

Wellbeing and mental Health Week

  A question I am often asked is,

“How can I encourage my child to talk about their day?  When I ask them what they have done they either answer played or nothing”. 

Does this sound familiar to you?  If so you could try rewording the question- Please find some examples in the link below 

Place2Be- helpful hints

 

I have been asked by the producers to share a useful website produced by Place2Be.  They are a fantastic supportive organisation that care deeply about supporting children and their families with  wellbeing and mental healthcare.  As we all know,  children don’t come with a handy guide to parenting and there is no one approach suits all.  With this in mind, Place2be have designed a website for parents, carers and teaching staff to access with quick and easy tips.  It is also helpful in highlighting how we are not alone in our concerns for our children.

 

You can access all the information via the link below.  I  will also highlight  a couple of areas through the school newsletter.  

 

Place2Be are delighted to share their newest website – Parenting Smart – a free online resource featuring practical advice and tried-and-tested tips for parents and carers of primary age children.

 

Parenting Smart is: 

 

  • Created by Place2Be’s parenting experts  
  • Based on evidence and our experience of working with children and families 
  • Designed with busy parents in mind, with short videos and articles  
  • Topics from meltdowns to friendship difficulties, from anxiety to the transition to secondary school 
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