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How to nurture your child’s wellbeing


Credit: Xavier College, Victoria

Ensuring your child’s social wellbeing is a priority as mental health difficulties are becoming more prevalent and severe amongst students. However, World Health Organisation (WHO) describes mental wellbeing as “more than the absence of mental health difficulties.”

There are many ways parents can assist with their child’s wellbeing at home.

What is wellbeing?

Wellbeing encompasses mental, social and emotional health. This may manifest as a sense of belonging, purpose, achievement and success in students.

Nurturing your child’s wellbeing and mental health enhances their learning and development.

“The foundation of a child’s wellbeing is based on caring relationships, a belief that they matter and a positive sense of self. Schools must ensure that every child feels valued while providing a safe environment to thrive and promoting a sense of belonging. Parents/carers can enhance wellbeing by improving resilience; enabling children to face challenges in their lives and to encourage perseverance.”  

Lucinda Malgas, Director of Wellbeing and Social Action, St Leonard’s College

Wellbeing Essentials

Research identifies 5 wellbeing essentials to assist with your child’s wellbeing:

1. Connecting with others

Positive relationships establish a sense of belonging and can provide emotional support. Building in-person connections with friends and family is important.

children. students on zoom. student wellbeing.

Credit: Camberwell Girls Grammar School

 

“For new relationships it is better to avoid social media” says Nidhi, a Psychologist at Sydney Child Psychology Services.

Parents can play games, have a conversation or set aside a night for family dinner. You may encourage your child to participate in extracurricular activities where they connect with others.

2. Moving around

Research from Victoria State Government reveals that physical activity improves mental wellbeing by increasing self-esteem and a sense of achievement.

Help your child find exercise activities or programs that suit them.

3. Learning new skills

Research from Victoria State Government reveals that physical activity improves mental wellbeing by increasing self-esteem and a sense of achievement.

Canberra Grammar School. students learning new skills. studens learning. boy playing guitar. 5

Credit: Canberra Grammar School

Help your child find exercise activities or programs that suit them.

4. Giving

‘Giving’ or acts of kindness improves mental wellbeing and provides a sense of reward.

Saying thank you, checking in on friends and offering to help someone is a good way to give.

5. Taking notice

Being mindful is a great tool for wellbeing.

Nidhi believes her clients respond well to different activities based on their age.

“The younger children find it boring to do breathing exercises. I normally suggest mindful practices that are interesting to them such as colouring or sensory play. Older children are more interested in yoga or more difficult tasks.”

ReachOut also recommends various applications to assist teens with mindfulness.

Working with your child’s school

Many schools have programs available designed to foster learning practices that support student wellbeing.

Meriden’s daily Pastoral program encourages students to be balanced, compassionate, generous, joyful, resilient, spirited and thankful. Daily discussion-based pastoral programs and one-on-one mentoring in the pastoral program allow tutors and the broader pastoral team to be attuned to the needs of the girls in our care. We refer concerns to parents and the counselling team as they arise.

Jessica Chilton, Head of Student Wellbeing, Meriden

Speak to a teacher or counsellor and research the programs available at your child’s school. Utilising such programs may assist with wellbeing at home.

Tips from a former student

Rena Tang, Meriden Head Prefect for 2021 and HSC all-round achiever, had this advice for parents and high school students in managing exam stress.

Balancing a study schedule with other cocurricular activities was especially necessary in Year 12 said Rena, as maintaining cocurricular activities was a way to unwind during the school week. Rena also chose to sit with friends at recess and lunch instead of studying alone, and rewarded her hard work with Friday night TV shows in order to stay motivated throughout the year.

“Your focus should be taking one day at a time. This is how I got rid of unnecessary anxiety and focused on what I could do in the moment,” said Rena.

Further information is available for parents maintaining their children’s wellbeing during exam period.

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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