Ten Great Ways to Help Children Relax

Some children can cope with lots of stress whilst others need a little bit of help. The following are some ways that author Kelly Roper suggests can help children to cope and become more resilient:

1. Deep Breathing
This simple technique can be done by anyone to slow down the body’s natural response to stress and help you feel more in control;
1. Simply breathe in deeply.
2. Hold the breath for a moment.
3. Release it slowly.
Repeat the deep breathing until you feel relaxed.

2. Muscle Relaxation
Tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups in your body helps you to relax.
•Face – scrunch up nose and forehead and then relax face. Repeat three times.
•Arms and shoulders – stretch arms out in front and then raise above head and stretch as high as able, then drop arms and let them hang loose. Repeat three times.
•Hands and arms – imagine squeezing an orange as hard as possible with one hand, and then dropping that orange on the floor and letting the arm and hand go limp. Repeat three times, and then switch to the other arm.
•Legs and feet – stand and press toes against the floor as though digging them into sand at the beach and then relax. Repeat three times.

3. Exercise
Exercise is a great form of relaxation; walking, running, dancing, swimming and playing all provide the kind of exercise that children enjoy.

4. Visualisation
Visualisation is also known as visual guided imagery. This technique uses the imagination to slow down the chatter of the mind and help release negative thoughts and worries. This technique can be especially useful following progressive muscle relaxation, which first relaxes the muscles and then calms the mind.
Imagining a beautiful, peaceful place is one type of visualisation that’s easy for nearly any child to use as a stress reducer. Colour visualisation can also be helpful and is a very simple technique to teach a child.
1. Ask your child to imagine a favourite colour that makes them feel peaceful and safe.
2. Have them imagine taking in that colour with each breath and sending it throughout their entire body as they exhale.
3. Have them continue until they visualise being filled with her special, relaxing colour.

A soothing sound, a special aroma, or the feeling of warmth or light can be used in place of the colour.

5. Laugh
Laughter is a wonderful stress reliever that soothes tension and helps the body relax. Encourage lots of laughter with games, tickles, telling jokes, making silly faces and watching funny cartoons.

6. Stretch

Stretching relaxes built up tension in the muscles. Teach your child how to gently stretch and feel the muscles relax.

7. Listen to Music
Listening to calming music can help a child regain focus. Even very young children may enjoy listening to relaxing classical music. Drawing to music is also very relaxing.

8. Meditate
Yoga can relax the mind and body. Here is a simple meditation your child can use at home, but it works well in the classroom too;
1. While your child sits on a bed at home, or at a desk at school, they should place their hands in their lap and close their eyes.
2. The next step is to breathe in and out slowly and evenly.
3. Each breathe in and each breathe out counts as a single count. Try for at least 30 in the classroom.
4. As they settle into the meditation, they should focus on listening to their breathing. As they do, they’ll begin to feel more calm and focused.
5. When they finish the count of 30, take a very deep breathe, let it out slowly, and then open eyes.

9. Cuddle
Encourage your child to cuddle with a pet, cuddly toy or loved one. Research has shown that physical, safe touch is very important and cuddles can lower blood pressure and decrease stress hormones.

10. Toe Tensing
Toe tensing draws tension down from the rest of the body. This simple exercise should be repeated ten times each session.
1. Lie on your back and allow yourself to sense your toes.
2. Use your toe muscles to pull all ten toes back in the direction of the face and hold to the count of ten.
3. Relax the toes and hold to the count of ten.

Supporting Children Through Exams/Tests

The excellent Young Minds Charity has some very helpful guidance for all those parents trying to support children through stressful tests and exams. Many parents and carers will also have older children in secondary school sitting exams this season. This can be a stressful time in homes and this tension can have an impact on younger siblings.
Please follow (or copy and paste) the following link for a useful guide on how to keep things calm at home and how best to support your children through this important time.

https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/for-parents/parents-guide-to-support-a-z/parents-guide-to-support-exam-time/

NHS Guidelines

Please use the following link (or copy and paste to a search engine) to seek guidance on how to manage illness and whether to send your child in to school.

https://www.what0-18.nhs.uk/parentscarers/child-unwell-ok-go-nurseryschool

Please look at our Attendance Policy for further information on the school website. This can be found under Key Information, Policies. If you would like paper copies of the NHS document, or policy, please contact me at school and I will be happy to provide one for you.
Tricia Pelling
Child and Family Support Worker

Stress At Christmas

There is a lot of pressure for us all to enjoy Christmas but for some it can be a very stressful time of the year for many different reasons.

The following is taken from ‘Care for the Family’ website;

The thought of Christmas can be enough to send stress levels soaring through the roof. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little thought and careful planning we can reduce our stress leading up to the holiday;

1. Keep hold of your finances – it’s tempting to blow your budget on all the trimmings and expensive presents. Expensive presents will soon be forgotten, but spending the day playing and focusing on your child will be a memory that will stay in their mind for years. Remember it’s not the presents but the presence that will be remembered.

2. Shop early – you can get great bargains in the after Christmas and mid-season sales; also, buying throughout the year helps spread the cost.

3. Set up a support system – someone you can talk to if you feel overwhelmed and find the day difficult. (See ‘Help at Christmas’ below.)

4. Keep your menus simple – less preparation and cooking means more time for you to relax and enjoy the festivities.

5. Stick to your usual routine – even though it’s Christmas, children still need structure in their days, and regular bedtimes. Some late nights are fine but it can be stressful if your children are overtired and grumpy, especially when you’re tired too.

Don’t feel guilty…for your own sense of well-being, focus on the things you do accomplish and the things you do provide.

6. Make time for your children – it’s easy to rush around with all the preparations and lose sight of what is important. Spend time playing, going for a walk, or maybe listening to some music together. Enjoy your children – they grow up so quickly. Allow each child to choose what activity the family should do one day during the holidays.

7. Don’t feel guilty – it’s always easy for single parents to feel guilty about the time they don’t have or the things they can’t give their children. For you own sense of well-being, focus on the things you do accomplish and the things you do provide. Don’t forget about all the love, attention and comfort you give throughout the year!

8. Decorate together – while it’s tempting to do it all when the children are asleep, putting up the decorations together gives you time to talk, time to listen and, most of all, to be together. Perhaps it could be the start of a new family tradition; you could even make your own decorations.

9. Be consistent with discipline – it may be the holidays, but children need to know that “no” still means “no”. Holidays are a time when children push the boundaries.

10. Establish in advance who the children will spend Christmas day with, so both they and you know what is happening. If you are going to be without the children, plan in advance what you will do; ask friends to help. Don’t just sit at home alone; do something, even if it’s helping at a shelter for the homeless.

11. Make time for yourself – the build-up to Christmas can be exhausting. Make time even if it’s just reading a book, watching a favourite DVD, or taking a warm bath. Setting aside some personal time will give you a chance to refuel. I always buy myself a new book and a big bar of chocolate. Then when the children are at their mother’s, I have something to look forward to.

12. Stay positive – it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the responsibilities and demands of parenting alone. Try to maintain a positive attitude. The best way to deal with stress is to exercise, eat properly (not too many chocolates!) and get enough sleep.

Help at Christmas-

Christmas can be a very difficult time for those who are grieving the death of a loved one or the breakdown of a relationship. The sense of isolation can be greater when it feels like everything has shut down for the holidays. Don’t forget the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day to listen to anyone in distress or despair and to give emotional support.

Tel: 08457 909090
www.samaritans.org

NHS & Family Support

The NHS has linked up with You Tube and have created lots of helpful videos for families ranging from subjects like First Aid, embarrassing conditions, sleep problems, mental health, exercise, dental health, disabilities, child health and many more.
Type the following link in to a search engine:
www.youtube.com/user/NHSChoices/playlists
or simple search for NHS Choices videos on You Tube, to find the help you need.

Christmas Day Lunch

Would you like some company on Christmas Day?

Park Community School’s MUNCH team

kindly invite you to join them for

a traditional Christmas lunch

at;
Park Community School.
25th December 2018
11am – 4pm
Middle Park Way, Leigh Park, Havant, PO9 4BU

Booking in advance is essential because the elves need to prepare a sumptuous feast and let Father Christmas know where everyone is.

For more information please contact:
Lorraine Daughtrey
Telephone: 02392489807
Park Community School,
Middle Park Way, Havant, PO9 4BU

Half-Term Activities

Here are a few suggestions for things to enjoy together over half-term;

https://www.visit-hampshire.co.uk/whats-on for ideas.

(The following ideas have a cost involved)
Halloween Family Trail at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey.
Join Sir Harold Hillier Gardens for creepy fun in the Gardens on a spooky self-guided trail. Survive the tricks and receive a small chocolate treat!
Visit the following site for further information;
www.visit-hampshire.co.uk/whats-on/halloween-family-trail-at-sir-harold-hillier-gardens or ring 01794 369318. Tickets £2.50

Also, a Halloween session of fun, spooky songs and storytelling around the campfire. Join Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in the woods where they will help you to make your own witch’s broom to take home. You can toast your own marshmallow and enjoy some popcorn that is cooked over the fire too! Suitable for 4-12 years. See their website for more details.

Beaulieu, National Motor Museum. New Forest.
01590 612345
Discover the fantasy and folklore of Halloween at Beaulieu this October half-term – plus visit the brand new exhibition celebrating 50 years of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! Visit between 20 – 28 October to see harvest festival-themed decorations in Palace House. (Cost involved)

Watts Gallery, Compton, Surrey
23 – 28 October | 10am – 4pm: Inspired by the exhibition, James Henry Pullen: Inmate – Inventor – Genius, discover a world of inventiveness from giant puppets to model ships and use an array of materials to create your own at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village.
www.wattsgallery.org.uk for more information.

Bluebird the Storyteller presents …
TISTOU – THE BOY WITH GREEN THUMBS at Waterlooville Library.
Local storyteller Bluebird tells her version of Tistou the Boy with Green Thumbs based on the 1965 book by Maurice Duron. This is a delightful story suitable for children 7+ and adults alike. Tuesday 23 October 2018, 10.30am. Tickets £4 per child with one accompanying adult free. Buy one and get one free! Available from the library on 02392 252608, or online at www.hants.gov.uk/shop

FREE ACTIVITIES;
Here are some suggestions from the National Trust from their ’50 things to do’ list;
-Go for an ‘adventure walk’ with your child at night with a torch and try some star gazing.
-Build a den together with an old sheet and pegs (great for indoors when it’s pouring with rain).
-Grab some binoculars and go bird watching with your child. Take a bird book with you from the library and see how many you can spot.
-Fly a kite
-Skim stones at the beach

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/documents/50-things-activity-list.pdf

CHILDREN GO FREE at British Airways i360 between 22nd and 26th October! Book online to avoid missing out. (Beware-still a cost for adults!)

Please don’t forget to read with your child every day if possible (even if it’s only 10 mins) and also let them have a good rest before returning to school.
Have fun!

The Importance of Nature to Children

You might be interested to read The National Trust’s publication considering the importance of nature to children today. This is not a new document (2012) but makes very interesting reading. Copy and paste the link below, or put ‘National Trust natural childhood document’ in to a search engine to find it.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/documents/read-our-natural-childhood-report.pdf

Head Lice and Nits

The following is taken from the NHS website. Please refer to this for further information.

Head lice and nits are very common in young children. They don’t have anything to do with dirty hair and are usually picked up from head-to-head contact.

Head lice are small insects, up to 3mm long, and can be difficult to spot.

Head lice eggs (nits) are yellow, brown or white (empty shells) and attached to the hair.

Head lice sometimes can make your head feel:
•itchy
•like something is moving in your hair

The only way to be sure someone has head lice is by finding live lice or eggs.

You can do this by combing their hair with a special fine-toothed comb (detection comb). You can buy these online or at pharmacies.

How to get rid of head lice

You can treat head lice without seeing a GP.
Treat head lice as soon as you spot them. You should check everyone in the house and treat them on the same day if they have head lice.

There’s no need to keep your child off school if they have head lice.

Wet combing

Lice and nits can be removed by wet combing. This method should be tried first.

You can buy a special fine-toothed comb (detection comb) online or from pharmacies to remove head lice and nits.

There will be instructions on the pack to follow, but typically you:
•use the comb on wet or dry hair – although it usually works best on wet hair with conditioner
•comb the whole head of hair, from the roots to the ends
•repeat every few days for 2 weeks

It usually takes about 10 minutes to comb short hair, and 20 to 30 minutes for long, frizzy or curly hair.

Medicated lotions and sprays

Ask your pharmacist for advice if you have tried wet combing for 2 weeks, but your child still has head lice or nits.

They may recommend using medicated lotions and sprays. These kill head lice in all types of hair, and you can buy them from pharmacies, supermarkets or online.

Head lice should die within a day. Lotions and sprays come with a comb to remove dead lice and eggs.

Some treatments need to be repeated after a week to kill any newly hatched lice.

Check the pack to see if they’re OK for you or your child and how to use them.

If lotions or sprays don’t work, speak to your pharmacist about other treatments.

Some treatments aren’t recommended because they’re unlikely to work.

For example:
•products containing permethrin
•head lice “repellents”
•electric combs for head lice
•tree and plant oil treatments, such as tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil and lavender oil herbal remedies

You can’t prevent head lice

There’s nothing you can do to prevent head lice. You can reduce the risk of lice spreading by avoiding head-to-head contact.

Don’t use medicated lotions and sprays to prevent head lice. This can irritate the scalp.

There’s no need for children to stay off school, or to wash laundry on a hot wash.

Healthy Sleep Tips for Children

The following useful information is taken from the NHS website.
Good sleep is important for your child’s physical and mental wellbeing.
A relaxing bedtime routine is one important way to help your child get a good night’s sleep.
Relaxation tips to help sleep-
Doing the same relaxing things in the same order and at the same time each night helps promote good sleep:
• A warm (not hot) bath will help your child relax and get ready for sleep.
• Keeping lights dim encourages your child’s body to produce the sleep hormone, melatonin.
• Once they’re in bed, encourage your child to read quietly, or listen to some relaxing music, or read a story together.
• Try the breathing exercise below.
Breathing exercise for stress-
This calming breathing technique for stress, anxiety and panic takes just a few minutes and can be done anywhere. You will get the most benefit if you do it regularly, as part of your daily routine.
You can do it standing up, sitting in a chair that supports your back, or lying on a bed or yoga mat on the floor.

Make yourself as comfortable as you can. If you can, loosen any clothes that restrict your breathing.
If you’re lying down, place your arms a little bit away from your sides, with the palms up. Let your legs be straight, or bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor.
If you’re sitting, place your arms on the chair arms.
If you’re sitting or standing, place both feet flat on the ground. Whatever position you’re in, place your feet roughly hip-width apart.
• Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it.
• Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
• Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from one to five. You may not be able to reach five at first.
• Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from one to five again, if you find this helpful.
• Keep doing this for three to five minutes.

Know how much sleep your child needs-
The amount of sleep your child needs changes as they get older. Below are the approximate hours of sleep needed by children of different ages, as recommended by the Millpond Children’s Sleep Clinic.
4 year olds – 11 hrs 30 mins
5 year olds – 11 hrs
6 year olds – 10 hrs 45 mins
7 year olds – 10 hrs 30 mins
8 year olds – 10 hours 15 mins
9 year olds – 10 hours
10 year olds – 9 hours 45 mins
11 year olds – 9 hours 30 mins

Avoid screens in the bedroom-
Tablets, smartphones, TVs and other electronic gadgets can affect how easily children get to sleep. Older children may also stay up late, or even wake in the middle of the night to use social media. Try to keep your child’s bedroom a screen-free zone, and get them to charge their phones in another room. Encourage your child to stop using screens an hour before bedtime.