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For Parents

A healthy mind and a healthy body need a mix of things to keep them working and growing. Not every day has to be perfect. But if you are stuck for ideas, here are some tips.

Find some fun alternatives to screen time: Boardgames, card games, listening to music together or playing in the garden are all great.

Make sure healthy food and drink is usually available. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. Leave a bowl of cut-up fruit, like apples, grapes, bananas, or carrot sticks, next to children while they watch TV or do their homework. They can use it to graze on instead of sweets or biscuits.

Try to make some time to talk away from distractions. Turn off the radio when you’re driving somewhere or go for a walk together. The best time to find out how your child really feels is when they are relaxed.

A regular bedtime along with a routine of brushing teeth and a face wash beforehand helps everyone to sleep better. The blue light emitted by mobile phones and tablets can interfere with our melatonin levels, the hormone we all need to help us sleep. It’s a good idea if children (and adults!) don’t keep digital devices in their bedrooms incase they are tempted to use them when they should be winding down ready to go to sleep.

You can find more helpful ways for you and your family to stay healthy and active at Change4Life.

How can I tell between ‘normal behaviour’ and something more serious?

It’s not uncommon for households with young children to experience extra stresses and dramas, so it helps to understand a little of what’s going on.

It can sometimes be hard not to worry but if your child is withdrawing socially and seems unable or reluctant to make new friends, this may be a warning a sign that there is something more going on.

If your child develops persistent physical symptoms (for example, headaches, stomach cramps or sickness) and shows reluctance to go to school, it’s time to probe a little deeper.

Similarly, take note if there are big changes in energy levels, memory and concentration, or if they become worryingly angry and aggressive or express frustration in an inappropriate physical way. If in doubt, seek further help through the organisations featured below.

Why should I be concerned about mental health?

Anyone, at any age can face challenges to their mental health and it’s not always possible to identify one single cause. It’s often a combination of stresses and pressures that build up and lead to symptoms. More than 1 in 10 children aged between 5 and 15 will suffer from a mental disorder.

Early intervention is crucial to prevent normal stress and anxiety developing into harmful mental health issues. When considering your child’s mental health, you may also identify that you or other members of the family are suffering with impaired well-being. There are resources and specialist help available to young people and adults; this website details some national links to support.

In the first instance, Fantastic FRED offers common sense strategies that can help you and your child establish good mental health. By incorporating these action points into everyday life, you could protect the mental health of your whole family.

Parenting isn’t easy but it’s important to recognise how much your child needs you, even though their needs may not be as apparent as in their toddler days! Your support at this stage in life can have a massive impact on their future and following the simple strategies outlined here should have a positive effect on the whole family.

What if I need further help for my child?

The following websites contain information and resources you may find useful:

Mental Health Matters Helpline

If you would like to talk to a trained and experienced support worker to provide you with emotional guidance and information, please call 0800 107 0160 – available 24/7.

Contacting the Helpline can give you a feeling of relief, wellbeing and peace of mind. You won’t be judged and the service is confidential unless there is a risk to yourself or others. You might choose to call the helpline if:

  • You may be feeling low, anxious or stressed and feel talking to another person might help you cope

  • You may be in extreme emotional distress and feel that there is nowhere else to turn

  • You may be caring for another person and finding it difficult to cope.

NHS Choices

Get details of other NHS mental health services near you, along with online advice for a varied range of mental health challenges, including coping with bereavement, financial problems and relationships. Click here for more information.

Children & Young People’s Mental Health Service

Click here to find local mental health services near you.

Online Safety

You can find more information on how to keep your child safe online below:

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See what headteachers are saying!
"Highly enthusiastic presentation alongside the knowledge-rich content."
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"The actors enthralled the children who thought the experience was amazing."

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"We were told by parents that their children went home and spoke about the show."

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"Parents on the gate the next day were talking about the experience and how the children had been informing their parents."
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"My class remembered so many facts and the FRED acronym really stuck in their heads."

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"The children are still talking about FRED and we will be following up with reminders in assembly and PSHE."

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