School cultures where talking about and managing emotions is an everday occurrence allow children and young people to develop an emotional language. This encourages children and young people to voice their feelings rather than acting them out.
Teachers often have a ringside seat to children and young people’s struggles with emotional regulation. They are in a good position to notice changes in behaviours and triggers for outbursts. This may be new behaviour and can indicate a child is struggling for any number of reasons at school or at home – and needs exploring. Other children and young people will be ‘well known’ for their acting out behaviours.
A consistent message to give is that no emotion is ‘wrong’. Supporting pupils to learn how to manage feelings positively can make a difference to how children and young people react. Some children will find this harder than others for a range of reasons including those children who have diagnosed additional needs – however everyone can benefit from the opportunity to reflect on how they react to difficult experiences. For some this might work in a whole class context whilst others will need individual time to make sense of how they can better regulate their emotions.
Helping children and young people learn to regulate their emotions does not have to be time consuming or complicated
• Whenever an opportunity arises discuss emotions using a range of ‘feelings’ words
• Help children identify the changes in their body that come with a feeling; early warnings of anger like feeling hot or anxiety making the heart beat faster.
• Help children come up with strategies to help when a ‘difficult feeling’ is building – like taking time out, doing a breathing exercise.
• Support and remind children to use their strategies – and praise and reinforce effort even if it doesn’t always work out.
Getting parents and carers involved will make interventions more likely to succeed. You could signpost families to the free online Solihull Course
There is a wealth of information to help schools support children regulate emotion and many children will benefit greatly from this. Self regulation is an important skill that impacts on every aspect of life even small changes can make a big difference going forward.
Some children may struggle to make any change. This might mean they are;
• Not able to contain their feelings - posing a risk to themselves or others
• Not able to build or maintain relationships
• Not able to access their education because of their behaviour
- 15-20 minute Bodyscan exercise
- The Children’s Society have a range of age specific resources to support work on managing feelings.
- Social Work Tool Box has a range of worksheets for group and individual work.
- Take 5 breathing exercise resource
- Nelson's Journey anger management tips
- PATHS (by Barnardos) work in schools to help development of self-control, emotional awareness and interpersonal problem-solving skills. The programme consists of a variety of lessons, and additional materials.
- An emotionally healthy approach to GCSE's (parents)
- An emotionally healthy approach to GCSE's (pupils)
- An emotionally healthy approach to GCSE's (schools)
- Public Health England - Mental Health Toolkit
Nuffield Health School Wellbeing Activity Programme (SWAP) - free 6 week programme of evidence based lessons delivered in six one hour sessions. The programme is aimed at children aged 9-12 years old but can be adapted for other school age children. The four key themes are:
- How I Move - focusing on physical activity
- How I Eat - focusing on sugar content of food and drinks, hydration, fruit and vegetables
- How I Sleep - focusing on sleep, sleep hygiene and screen time
- How I Feel - focusing on emotional wellbeing and resilience
Anna Freud resources:
- supporting schools to engage with parents
- Ten steps towards schools staff wellbeing
- Supporting school staff wellbeing
- Supporting mental health and wellbeing in secondary schools
- Talking mental health with young people at secondary school - advice for parents and carers
- Supporting mental health and wellbeing in schools
- You're never too young to talk mental health - tips for parents and carers
- Measuring and Monitoring Children and Young People's Mental Wellbeing - video
- Talking Mental Health lesson plan (years 5 and 6)
- Talking Mental Health assembly plan (key stage 2)
- Talking Mental Health assembly Powerpoint (key stage 2)
- Talking Mental Health - video
- Talking Mental Health animation and full teacher toolkit
- We All Have Mental Health - lesson plan (key stage 3)
- We All Have Mental Health - lesson Powerpoint (key stage 3)
- We All Have Mental Health - assembly plan (key stage 3)
- We All Have Mental Health - assembly Powerpoint (key stage 3)
- We All Have Mental Health - video
The CARE animation is a short animation for all school and college staff that recognises the importance of supporting children and young people’s mental health in schools and colleges, and offers a simple principle for staff to remember; CARE. (Curious, Approachable, Refer, Empathy). It is aimed at all School staff, including including support staff and those who may not have direct contact with pupils. The animation can be used in one of the following ways:
1.On a staff training day.
2.In a staff briefing or team meeting
3.Send the animation and resources out in a staff bulletin
You can watch the CARE animation and download the accompanying guidance and poster at www.annafreud.org/careanimation.
Mentally Healthy Schools is a free website where schools can find a range of information and resources to help school staff un derstand, promote and deal confidently with children's mental health issues.
- Wellbeing measurement framework for primary schools
- Wellbeing measurement framework for secondary schools
- Wellbeing measurement framework for colleges
Public Health England has launched new free All Our Health bite-sized e-learning sessions to improve the knowledge, confidence and skills of all health and care professionals in preventing illness, protecting health and promoting wellbeing.
The sessions cover some of the biggest issues in public health from childhood obesity to Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and they contain signposting to trusted sources of helpful evidence, guidance and support to help professionals embed prevention in their everyday practice.
- My Hidden Chimp - Professor Steve Peters
- Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life For Teens - Sheri Van Dijk
- Stuff That Sucks, A Teens Guide To Accepting What You Can't Change And Committing To What You Can - Ben Sedley
- Mind Your Head - Juno Dawson
Norfolk County Council libraries – have a wide range of books on managing feelings.
How Can We Help?
Just One Norfolk Access the health advice website to explore a variety of health issues. This website is consistently being reviewed and updated.
Parent Activation Measure This helps parents think about their knowledge skills and confidence in understanding and supporting their children or unborn babies.
Just One Number Call to speak to a health professional by phoning 0300 300 0123. They will be able to provide initial advice and support and guide next steps with us or signpost you to other more relevant agencies and professionals. It is available 08.00 to 18.00 Monday to Friday and 09.00 to 13.00 on Saturdays
ChatHealth Children and Young people can access us through our text messaging service on 07480635060. They will be able to discuss any health concerns with one of our Practitioners and also be able to request an appointment if they would prefer to meet with us.
Parent Line Parents can access our services by texting our number 07520631590 . This allows them to access the advice and support from a clinician about any health issues affecting their children aged 0-19.
JustOneNorfolk Health Passport app Young people age 16-19 can download this app on apple or android phones. It provides young people age 16-19 with general health information and advice to increase health literacy. It signposts to services and promotes self care. It aims to increase resilience and wellbeing and to find out how to access health services.
Health Unlocked Parents can be signposted to this. It is a carefully monitored online community forum which allows local parents and carers to talk with each other regarding issues affecting their children. This can be accessed through our Just One Norfolk website.
Solihull Parenting Online For our Norfolk parents there is the opportunity to access this free of charge through JustOneNorfolk. It supports parents in understanding their children from 0-19 via 4 modules.
Staff working with children and families will also benefit from this – or they can book to do the two day Solihull Training provided by our service by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org