Welcome back to the new school year! I hope that you all enjoyed a restful summer break with your families.
I’m pleased to inform you all of a new service provided by the NHS school nursing team called ChatHealth 5-19 which is a text message advice line for parents of school-aged children. A text messaging service is an easy way for parents and carers to ask for help and information with a range of issues such as hearing, sleep, behaviour, transition to school.
The service is available for parents and carers with children in Hampshire schools, educational settings and, the elective home educated, to send messages to a dedicated number: 07507332417. Once received, the school nursing service will respond within one working day. ChatHealth 5-19 is available Monday to Thursday from 9 am-4.30 pm and 9 am–4 pm on Fridays (excluding bank holidays). Chat Health also has a 0-5 years text line for any queries you have about pre school age children: 07520 615 720.
Also new this school year is a website called Hampshire Healthy Families http://www.hampshirehealthyfamilies.org.uk/. The recently launched website provides health information and advice to parents, children and, young people and schools that we hope will be of great use including interactive games for children, a mums chat forum and information about what’s on in the local community.
Happy Summer Holidays!
The link below is a fantastic resource for your children to access across the summer holiday based around self-care and awareness but in the form of interactive and engaging activities to complete either independently or together with a parent or carer.
It is really important, this school holiday more than ever, that you try to spend time encouraging your child or children to look after their mental health and nurturing their self-esteem and sense of self. Part of this may need to include an age appropriate discussion explaining that everyone has mental health: some people have a really positive mental health and others may struggle to maintain this and have poor mental health. We don’t need to be struggling before we decide to look after our mental health, it should be something we aim to work on little and often no matter what our state of mind and wellbeing is to be preventative rather than reactive.
If you are able to, role model the activities that encourage a positive wellbeing and good mental health yourselves. This could include physical exercise/outdoor activity, maintaining a good bedtime routine and amount of sleep, eating a balanced diet as much as possible, socialising and interacting with other people (distanced of course!), doing things for other people to boost self-esteem and knowing when to open up and ask for help or just for a listening ear.
I hope you have a wonderful summer break and make time for yourselves, your children and your mental health!
Miss Megan Chapman
While we all wish for a sunny summer break and relaxing beach days, we must also consider the safety of the sea. It is imperative that you explain the dangers of water to your child while educating them on how to enjoy water safely.
The RNLI have created some amazing resources for your children to learn the basics of how to have fun safely this summer. Be sure to share these with your children – they’re in the form of entertaining video clips and an array of interactive resources with supplementary information for parents on the other pages of their website.
As we approach the end of a most unusual school year, your thoughts will be turning to how you can keep your children happy, engaged and entertained this summer holiday. Hampshire County Council have produced a great resource detailing a wide range of activities – some free and some that cost – to help you get inspired. Take a look via the link below!
In order for you to best protect your children from online harm and damage, it is imperative you familiarise yourself with the programs, apps and devices that they are using to ensure their safety online. Technology changes so fluidly and children can be very clever at moving on to the next trending app before we even know of it’s existence! With this in mind, please do stay in the loop with which apps and web pages are being used in your home and how appropriate they may be, especially if they are new as it is often the case that privacy settings and protective factors for young people are somewhat lacking if the demand for use of an app of web page grows quickly.
The Government have produced a useful web page with a host of information regarding how to keep your children safe online – even more crucial during this time with an increased need for online activity. The key topics are outlined below but please do use the link provided to read up on the risk and how to reduce this for each of the headings.
Whilst there are huge benefits to being online in order to stay connected to family and friends during this period, the government recognises many parents may feel concerned about the activities and content their children are accessing. This guidance outlines resources to help keep children safe from different risks online and where to go to receive support and advice.
Keep your child safe online
It is important to have regular conversations about staying safe online and to encourage children to speak to you if they come across something worrying online.
These resources provide guidance for parents and carers to keep children safe online. They will, amongst other things, support you to talk to your child about a range of online safety issues, set up home filtering in a child-friendly way and set up age-appropriate parental controls on digital devices:
- Thinkuknow by National Crime Agency-CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) provides resources for parents and carers and children of all ages to help keep children safe online
- Childnet has developed guidance for parents and carers to begin a conversation about online safety, as well as guidance on keeping under-fives safe online
- Parent Info is a collaboration between Parent Zone and NCA-CEOP, providing support and guidance for parents and carers related to the digital world from leading experts and organisations
- NSPCC has guidance for parents and carers to help keep children safe online
- UK Safer Internet Centre provides tips and advice for parents and carers to keep children safe online – you can also report any harmful content found online through the UK Safer Internet Centre
What harms might my child experience online?
You may have concerns about specific harms which children can experience online. There are more resources to help you understand and protect your child from different harms online, including:
- child sexual abuse – a definition
- exposure to radicalising content
- youth-produced sexual imagery (‘sexting’)
- exposure to age-inappropriate content, such as pornography
- exposure to harmful content, such as suicide content
Follow this link for the full webpage…
Online Safety UK are providing free online zoom sessions to support parents with a range of issues all parents are likely to face around your children’s online activity.
The next zoom session is TOMORROW – Tuesday 16th June at 10AM (lasting 45 minutes). The title for this one is:
How to start a conversation with your children about their online world
Use the link below to register yourself for this useful event:
Future sessions will be covering the following topics which I will post on the blog when they take place.
- Age ratings and apps/games to watch out for
- How to digital detox after lockdown (Adults and children)
I would love to hear from any parents that have taken part in the session to receive your feedback.
Now more than ever, your children will be accessing devices and online interactivity for a multitude of reasons – home learning, communicating with friends and family, entertainment and streaming to name a few.
Our fab E Safety partner from Online Safety UK has shared some really informative yet concise resources that I have linked below for parents and carers to have a look at to ensure that you are up to date with the best way to do you bit to keep children safe online and managing their screen time effectively.
Understandably, implementing screen time management during a period where you are at home more than ever is a hard task, however it will go a long way in reducing the shock of transitioning out of lockdown measures and returning to school in which ever capacity they may face in the coming weeks and months.
It is in your interest as a family wherever possible to try and keep a sense of routine and structure to your days including (but not exhaustively): home learning, outdoor time, family time, art/craft projects, reading, screen time and talk time. For this to have effect and not become a chore to do, it is best to try and create this plan WITH your child so they feel a sense of control and ownership over their time.
Have a go at trying to plan you daily routine and make sure you are always aware of your children’s gaming, youtube and online content – good luck!
A big hello from me – Miss Chapman – in these rather unusual circumstances to be joining the St Peter’s Community! It has been lovely for me to be able to get to know some of our families who have been accessing school during the closures and I’m really looking forward to getting to know everybody else when things begin to return to normal.
A little bit about me – you may already know that I attended St. Peter’s myself as a child and I am thrilled to be able to return and be a part of the school’s community. I came from a Portsmouth school working in a similar role so I have lots of useful experience with supporting families for a variety of reasons. Outside of school, I have a little Cockapoo called Polly who I love taking to her agility club and I also help at a local Brownies on a Thursday. Please feel free to ask me about this if you have a daughter aged 7-10 as we would love to have some new recruits when the situation allows!
In light of the current environment, I have found a few useful resources for a range of purposes:
- A child-friendly social story with activities to explain what Coronavirus is and also reassure children around their feelings about any fears they have in relation to Coronavirus; see the link below.
- If you or somebody you know if suffering any form of domestic abuse, the link below lists multiple support services and helplines who you can reach out to.
- Online safety and screen time is an on going issue at home during ‘normality’ so with the extra time spent indoors we recognise the battle becomes harder again. Below is a link to some fantastic resources to show you how to limit screen time and monitor usage on devices such as: iPhones, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and others.
I look forward to meeting you all in the future and remind your children how much of a positive impact they’re having by being Stay-at-Home Heroes!
Here are some new resources to help you cope in the lockdown period;
Firstly, the Children’s Commissioner has released a guide for children to help explain the virus in age-appropriate terms if needed;
(If this link does not work, then just search for Children’s Commissioner Guide to Coronavirus for Children).
Secondly, the Childhood Bereavement Network has released advice on how to talk to children about Covid-19 and especially if someone in the family is seriously ill;
On a lighter note, Disney and Change4Life have produced some 10 minute bursts of fun with their ‘Shake Up’ games. They will get the children moving and keeping fit whilst having fun with their favourite Disney characters;
I hope that you find the above useful.
Child and Family Support Worker
Taken from Young Minds 360 Support for Schools
It’s understandable for children and adults to feel concerned or anxious about this virus and it is natural for parents to want to support and protect their children. You might do this in many different ways; giving them a hug, playing a game or having a chat.
The most important thing is for your child to know that you are there for them, ready to help them if things get hard. We hope these tips help you support your child at this time.
1. Talk to your child about what is going on. You could start by asking them what they have heard about coronavirus.
2. Try to answer their questions and reassure them in an age appropriate manner. Remember, you do not need to know all the answers, but talking can help them feel calm.
3. Explain to your child that it is natural to worry sometimes and everyone does it. This feeling, like all feelings, will come and go.
4. Don’t try to shield your child from the news, as it’s likely they will find out somehow from school, being online or from friends.
5. Be aware that your child will often copy your behaviour, so if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, you may need to limit how much you express this in front of them.
6. Reassure your child that it is unlikely they will get seriously ill, and if they do feel ill you will look after them. Your child might be concerned about who will look after you, if you catch the virus. Let them know the kind of support you have as an adult, so that they don’t feel they need to worry about you.
7. Give some practical tips to your child about how they can look after themselves. For example, show them how to wash their hands properly, and remind them when they should be doing it.
8. Keep as many regular routines as possible, so that your child feels safe and that things are stable.
9. Spend time doing a fun activity with your child (e.g. reading, playing, painting, cooking) to help reassure them and reduce their anxiety. This is also a great way of providing a space for them to talk through their concerns, without having a ‘big chat’.
10.Encourage your child to think about the things they can do to make themselves feel safer and less worried. Help them find things that distract or relax them.
11.Be aware that your child may want more close contact with you at this time and feel anxious about separation. Try to provide this support whenever possible.
12.Remember to look after yourself too. If you are feeling worried, or anxious about coronavirus, talk to someone you trust who can listen and support you.
Helplines and Resources;
YoungMinds Crisis Messenger
• Provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK if you are
experiencing a mental health crisis.
• If you need urgent help text YM to 85258.
• All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from
experienced clinical supervisors.
• Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, Three, Virgin Mobile, BT
Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.
• Our Parents Helpline is available to offer advice to parents and
carers worried about a child or young person under 25.
• Call our free helpline for confidential, expert advice on 0808 802
• Available Mon-Fri from 9.30am to 4pm- available in England,
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
• Out of our operating hours, you can contact the Parent Helpline
via our online contact form.
• Comforts, advises and protects children 24 hours a day and offers
free confidential counselling.
• Phone 0800 1111 (24 hours).
• Chat 1-2-1 with a counsellor online.
• Information, support and listening for people under 25.
• Phone 0808 808 4994 (24 hours).
• Get support online.
• 24 hour confidential listening and support for anyone who needs
it. (Adults included.)
• Phone 116 123 (24 hours).