From the Clonard Wellbeing Team – How to support your daughter over the next 7 days

Periods of lockdown can result in feelings of isolation and increased feelings of stress and uncertainty. As such it’s very important to help your child maintain healthy habits while also being very aware of any significant declines in health and wellbeing.

Applying and maintaining a regular routine and structure around the day can go some way to counteract the uncertainty and stress of our currently changed way of living. Encouraging your child to apply healthy sleep patterns while maintaining the routine of getting properly dressed, showering, and eating each day is crucial. The brain loves routine and while it can be tempting to allow your child to sleep longer or go to bed later, and to attend classes with pajamas on it can impact on both mental health and general productivity if we lose our routine and daily habits. Attending and engaging in classes themselves is incredibly important during this time. Being productive and completing work gives us a sense of accomplishment which helps to boost mood and improve mental health.

Some strategies for establishing routines include

  • Check in with your young person at the beginning and end of each day
    • Where possible promote gratitude and positive thinking in these check ins. Stating the good things can help us feel more positive and promote mental health and wellbeing. Questions you could use are: What’s one thing that worked well today? What’s something you are looking forward to today? What’s something you are grateful for today?
  • Encourage your child to use the regular breaks we have in the school day for movement and to be active when they can outside of the school day.
  • Encourage healthy eating habits – wholesome foods and water is good for the body, the brain and mental health
  • Promote healthy sleeping habits – our teenagers need 9-10 hours of sleep approximately per night to allow for the rapid development their brains are undergoing and to promote mental health.
  • Manage screen time and use of phones and social media. Phones aren’t allowed in a physical school setting and they don’t promote engagement during remote learning. Phone and social media use is best kept to a small window of time each day. Phones should not be in bedrooms overnight.

Best to create and build habits early rather than wait for problems to arise. It can be hard change routine once there is a problem evident.

Please be extra mindful that lockdown can be very stressful for all of us, especially young people for whom socializing at school and through sports clubs can be a powerful protective factor. Interruption to normal learning routines can also be very stressful for those who are highly motivated to learn. Pay attention to any changes in behaviour that might seem to be disproportionate to their circumstances and the duration of the lockdown. Things to look out for can include changes in the way they communicate, changes to sleep patterns, increased irritability, a tendency to self-isolate and any other behaviour that would be regarded as out of the norm.

It is important that if you have any concerns in regards to the mental health and wellbeing of your young person that you contact a medical professional as soon as possible. Your family GP can be a great first port of call in this regard as they will be able to assist your child in accessing psychologists, telehealth counselling or more immediate help if required.

Please also contact your young person’s Wellbeing Teacher and or Year Level Wellbeing and Community Leader if you have any concerns that you think we should be aware of to allow us to best support your child. If you need more immediate assistance from the school please call the school directly and they will be able to put you in contact with a member of our Student Services Team.

We look forward to welcoming all our young people back to the physical spaces of Clonard and wish you and your family all the best for this difficult time. We hope that despite its difficulties there are still many things to be grateful for and we will be especially grateful to gather again as a College community in a few days.

 

If you require crisis support, or need to speak with someone immediately, please contact one of the following, or contact your local GP.

Much of this information has been adapted from Learning from home information for parents (education.vic.gov.au).