Dear Parents and Carers,
My newsletter for January is actually a letter to offer support, to talk honestly about the behaviours that sometimes cause problems both in and out of school, and to see if we can find ways to help ‘our children’ get the very best out of school and the time at home and in the community. It came about from an article I read recently by Dr Luis Rojas Marcos that resonated so clearly with me as a parent and a Headteacher. I want to share it with you in the hope that no one feels insulted but rather you can find something useful to help you.
As a school we have plenty of things to look forward to from now until the end of June, these 19 weeks of school will be used to teach, challenge, motivate and support our pupils to achieve their best. However, I have mentioned every year at Meet the Teacher we cannot work in isolation with our pupils, we need your support and engagement to help our children to try their best and to develop the resilience that is needed for school, life and work.
As a parent myself I know how hard it can be and how we often beat ourselves up about how we bring up our children. As parents and carers we are not given a manual to help us with the moody moments, the tantrums when they lose a game, the ‘no’ moments or the feeling that they are not listening to us anymore.
Dr. Luis Rojas Marcos, the New York Psychiatrist, who wrote the article suggests that today’s children are often being over-stimulated and over-gifted with material objects, but they are deprived of the fundamentals of a healthy childhood, such as: • Clearly defined limits
- Balanced nutrition and adequate sleep
- Movement in general but especially outdoors
- Creative play, social interaction, unstructured game opportunities and boredom spaces
He suggest some actions we can all take that he believes will make a difference to our children:
- Set limits. Remember that you are the adult. Your children will feel more confident knowing that you are in control
- Offer children a balanced lifestyle full of what children NEED, not just what they WANT. Don’t be afraid to say “no”
- Provide nutritious food and limit junk food. Enjoy a daily family dinner without smartphones or distracting technology
- Spend at least one hour a day outdoors doing activities e.g. cycling, walking
- Involve your children in some homework or household chores according to their age (folding clothes, tidying toys, hanging clothes, unpacking food, setting the table, feeding the dog etc.)
- Implement a consistent sleep routine to ensure your child gets enough sleep
- Provide opportunities for “boredom”, since boredom is the moment when creativity awakens. Do not feel responsible for always keeping children entertained
- Be emotionally available to connect with children and teach them self-regulation and social skills
- Turn off and remove phones and tablets at night when children have to go to bed to avoid digital distraction
- Connect emotionally – smile, hug, kiss, tickle, read, dance, jump, play or crawl with them
At school we are seeing and dealing with more and more pupils who are struggling emotionally and socially. Sometimes the problems can be traced back to a learning need, but in many situations when we meet with parents and children it often becomes apparent that lack of sleep or no clear boundaries has led to behaviours where they are unable to understand the word ‘no’ or are demonstrating aggressive or negative behaviours in school and at home. I send this letter out so that perhaps if you are struggling with some of these behaviours you can see there are solutions that you can try.
As a school we want to help and would be more than happy to meet and discuss any support we can offer. Mrs Prior, our Enhanced Support Worker, offers the courses Raising Kids with Confidence and Raising Teens with Confidence. Mrs Kelly is a trained Sleep Therapist, Mr Taylor, Miss Eeles, Mrs Paterson and Mrs Prior are all trained to deliver Seasons for Growth to both pupils and adults.
Mrs Helen Gillanders