It’s Children’s Mental Health Week next week, and it’s more important than ever this year.
With several lockdowns, social distancing measures, ever-changing coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines and prolonged absences from school having such a detrimental affect on the mental health and wellbeing of children, this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week has a particular resonance.
And so former primary school teacher Laura Steele – of education experts PlanBee – has gathered together week’s worth of fantastic free resources all in one downloadable pack for parents / carers / guardians to use during the homeschooling day to help children explore their mental health.
Each activity aims to give kids the tools to express their thoughts and feelings in a way they have never been able to achieve before.
These posters aim to help your child understand some of the physical sensations that accompany different feelings.
By exploring and discussing the vocabulary on each poster, you could ask children – Do you know what this word means? Have you ever felt like this? What made you feel this way? Could you add any more words to either of the posters?
Older children may find the Synonym Booklet of Emotions more useful to expand their vocabulary and help them to better express themselves.
Use these 16 feelings and emotions cards to develop discussion around a range of different feelings with the questions below each emoji. If your children cannot think of an example, you could describe and explain a time when you felt this way.
They could also be asked whether each of the cards represent a ‘warm fuzzy’ or a ‘cold prickly’ feeling, picking up on yesterday’s discussions.
You could then challenge your child to use the Design Your Own Emotion Emojis sheet to create their own versions, and encourage them to think about their personal experience of each emotion, and think carefully about the shape, colour, size and facial expression they choose.
Wednesday’s resource focuses on a specific feeling – worry, or anxiety.
Tell your child that everyone experiences this feeling sometimes, and more often than not, acknowledging and talking about the reasons why you are worried or anxious can help you to feel better. These Worry Monster Activity Sheets can help your children to voice, and then deal with, any anxieties they may have.
Anger and frustration can be difficult emotions for anyone to deal with, not least children, so these posters offer a range of techniques that can be used almost anywhere, in any situation.
The first four posters (The Calm Down Cake, The Slow Down Star, The Slow Down Square and the Helping Hand) direct children to focus on their breathing, using an image to help them do this. Discuss and practise the techniques together, first with and then without the posters in front of them, so children realise that these strategies can be successful using only their imagination if needed.
The final poster in the pack (5…4…3…2…1), may be more suitable for older children, as they are directed to use all of their senses to focus and calm the mind, and they can do this for the actual environment they are in, or an imagined one, such as a park, a beach or a forest.
The mental benefits of meditation are now widely recognised – for children as well as adults.
Research has shown that short, regular meditation sessions can have a positive effect on children’s attention, focus, self-awareness, and their management of thoughts and feelings, so this Guide Sheet is a simple, easy introduction to meditation, with step-by-step instructions to follow.
Try a short session with your child and ask them how they feel afterwards.
You could try to add a session like this into your daily routine, and see what effect it has over time on your child’s emotional wellbeing.
A person with a fixed mindset feels that they have no control over their abilities or problems they may face, but someone with a growth mindset knows that they can improve their abilities and overcome difficulties if they persevere and are patient with themselves.
Discuss these differences with your child, and look at the poster for examples of each type of mindset.
What type of mindset does your child think they have, and why? Why might it be better to have a growth mindset?
Children could use the blank poster provided to write their own personal examples of statements they made when they felt they had a fixed mindset, and how they could turn this around into a growth mindset statement.
You can end the week on a positive note with this activity, where children are encouraged to think about all the different aspects of their life that they are thankful for.
A blank template is included for children to record these thoughts.
The I am Lucky Because… activity sheet may be more suitable for younger children, where they are encouraged to think about and complete the sentences, ‘I am lucky because I can…’, ‘I am lucky because I am’… and ‘I am lucky because I have…’.
You can download Plan Bee’s Children’s Mental Health Week activity pack for FREE here.
Peter Kay Live at Manchester AO Arena – times, tour dates, tickets and more
Peter Kay will finally make his long-awaited return to the stage this week with a massive UK tour.
The beloved Bolton comedian is set to play a whopping 42 dates here in Manchester, as well as a monthly residency down in London at the O2.
His AO Arena dates begin on Friday 2 December and will run all the way through to 2025 (yes, really).
According to Ticketmaster, this will be the seating plan for the AO Arena for Peter Kay’s gigs.
It’s a fully seated tour but every block is set to be in use.
Venue security and requirements
The show is strictly for people aged 15+.
The AO Arena has a few strict policies to keep gig-goers safe, so make sure to check entry requirements carefully before you travel.
For example, only one small bag per person is allowed, and bags like backpacks, travel cases and laptop bags are not permitted inside the arena.
All bags are scanned on entry to check for prohibited items like laser pens, flares, projectiles, weapons, drugs and alcohol, and even selfie sticks.
Featured image: Publicity picture
Angela Rayner and Manc music legends to join Andy Burnham in charity DJ battle
Angela Rayner has been added to the bill for Andy Burnham’s immense DJ battle this weekend – which is a sentence we never thought we’d be writing.
The deputy Labour leader will be getting behind the decks at the charity event, alongside Manc music legends including Rowetta and Clint Boon.
The event will see Burnham battling against Steve Rotheram in a musical head-to-head between Manchester and Liverpool, all to raise money for the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity for A Bed Every Night.
It’s taking place at Depot Mayfield, the home of Warehouse Project, on Friday 2 December – and we’ve got an exclusive discount for £1 tickets for The Manc readers.
All proceeds from bar sales on the night will go to support those who are experiencing or at risk of rough sleeping in Greater Manchester.
The line-up will be headlined by Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram (who first battled behind the DJ decks in lockdown), with guest appearances from Angela Rayner, Nihal Arthanayake, Stanley Chow, Clint Boon and Rowetta, plus guest DJs from the Warehouse Project.
Angela said: “I can’t wait to get on the decks and show everyone why Manchester is clearly the best city when it comes to music. I’ve got a lot of love for Scousers, but Team Liverpool will be second best on Saturday night.
“I’m delighted to be taking part in this event and helping to raise money for such a fantastic cause. I hope you like the songs I’ve picked. It was hard to narrow it down to three because there are so many Manchester music legends!”
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “We all know Manchester has the greatest musical heritage and I’ll be giving it my all in the set to prove that point once and for all. There’s serious pride at stake here.
“But competition aside, our passion for music unites our two city regions. What better way to put on an amazing celebration of our region’s culture and raise money for important causes, to support those who need it most at what is a really difficult time.”
Mayor of Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram said: “There can be no debate: the Liverpool City Region is the undisputed home of British music. We’ve given the world some of the greatest artists, albums and songs of all time – no area has had more number one hits than us.
“The fact we beat off competition from cities across the UK to host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine speaks to our world-leading reputation as the UK’s premier music scene – and it’s a legacy we’re continuing today.”
The battle is supported by The Warehouse Project, Elevate and Badger & Combes.
Launched in 2018 by Andy Burnham and supported by the Charity, A Bed Every Night provides emergency accommodation for anyone rough sleeping across the city-region, regardless of status, as well as vital personal support.
Since its launch, A Bed Every Night has helped over 4,000 people and been instrumental in reducing rough sleeping in the region since its peak in 2017. But due to the current cost of living and energy crisis, there is an increased need to offer support this winter.
Currently, there are 619 people in A Bed Every Night accommodation across Greater Manchester who would otherwise be at risk of rough sleeping, with 21 organisations across the region providing accommodation.
To get your ticket for £1 (plus fees), use the code: TheManc – get yours here.