It is often said that wellbeing is having a bubble bath and an evening off to watch TV, and while that can be a part of wellbeing there really is more to it – especially for young people. Here are a few strategies to support your child’s wellbeing – in a more cohesive way.
Routines can be difficult to establish, however, they often are the foundation of wellbeing. To begin a new routine, or healthy habit, start off small and add it onto something your child already does. For example, after each time they brush their teeth in the evening they tell you one thing they learnt that day, or after breakfast on weekends they spend 10-20 minutes reading. The goal is to create set times for your child where they can do their homework, prepare for school or extra-curricular activities, without it feeling forced. This is important because a big part of wellbeing is getting the things you need to do done.
One way to help your child cope with anxiety and stress is learning different soothing breathing techniques. These can help with some symptoms of an anxiety attack such as rapid heart-rate and shallow breathing. Dr. Nicole LePera suggests practicing deep belly breaths, holding that breath in for two or three seconds, and then exhaling slowly without any force.* It is also good to practice breathing in through the nose, this way we allow more and better quality oxygen into our lungs, then breathing out through the mouth with a sigh. This can be done as part of a daily, morning or evening time routine, or as required when your child is facing a stressful or difficult situation.
The NHS recommends that children and young people aged 5-18 should do at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each day throughout the week. This regular exercise will not only help your child’s physical health, but also help lower stress hormones, improve their mood and self-image. It can create stability and helps your child to enter social engagement mode – meaning they are more receptive to learning, as well as being calmer and more motivated. *
Sometimes emotions and feelings can be very difficult to describe – especially if you are young and possibly lack the vocabulary needed – therefore a good exercise to do with your child is drawing. Drawing can be a great creative outlet for anxiety, depression, other illnesses that are invisible and difficult to process situations. One exercise to try is encouraging your child to draw one or two doodles about their day, or how they are feeling, without taking the pencil off the page. Another is to ask them to draw with their non-dominant hand because this allows for less restrictions and expectations for the drawing to look ‘good’. The goal is to help process emotions through a visual means. For further information visit: https://drawingout.org/
As well as providing academic support we can also help pupils with their wellbeing. Regular tuition is a great addition to a weekly routine that provides pupils with stability and allows for school work to be completed without stress. Our tutors can also discuss the strategies mentioned above, amongst others, with pupils and parents to further support your child’s wellbeing and learning.
*LePera, Nicole. How To Do The Work (United States: HarperCollins Publishers, 2021), pp. 72 – 73, 97 – 100).
Written by Aleksandra Dul.
Aleksandra is our new blog writer and English GCSE and A-Level tutor. She has recently graduated from Cardiff University with a BA in German and English Literature. She is also a freelance photographer at Not So Casual Photography which produces fantastic locally-themed calendars and other artwork, as well as writing her own blog focusing on themes such as wellbeing, mental health and personal growth.