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Five steps to help with children’s wellbeing

Source BBC Teach

In a society where children are feeling more under pressure than ever, helping children with their emotional wellbeing is a concern for many parents and teachers alike. But how can we help?

Clinical psychologist and special guest for BBC Teach’s The Growth Mindset and Wellbeing Lesson, Dr Hazel Harrison, has put together five easy steps to promote children’s wellbeing – as well as our own.

Step 1. “Be yourself”
Helping children to recognise their character strengths is a great way to build their confidence and appreciate the uniqueness they bring to the world.

By shifting the focus from the things they can’t do to what they can, you emphasise the positive aspects of their character.

Character strengths aren’t dependent on an outcome or a particular achievement; they’re the core virtues that make us who we are.

Encourage children to notice and appreciate their own strengths, and those of others too.

Step 2: “Be grateful”
It can be easy to feel other people’s lives are better than our own, especially when we’re bombarded with perfect images on social media. We can get stuck thinking others are more beautiful, have more money and fun, or simply ‘have more’.

And children are just as susceptible as adults to this comparison trap. So how can we help them (and ourselves)?

One idea is to bring attention to what’s working well in your/their life by developing gratitude skills. To develop these skills, you can use techniques such as starting a gratitude jar, writing a gratitude journal or having a gratitude conversation.

Step 3: “Be mindful”
Our minds can be very busy, getting pulled into thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Finding ways to focus on what’s happening in the present moment is another way to build your child’s wellbeing.

There are different ways to help children develop their mindfulness skills, which will probably work best if you join in too (especially if there are younger children involved).

A way in which you can help develop these skills is drawing for 10 minutes. Set a timer for 10 minutes and challenge the children to draw something they can see.

This activity isn’t about what the drawing looks like, it’s about whether they are able to focus on the activity and bring their attention back when it wanders.

Step 4: “Be kind”
Kindness is a win-win for wellbeing.

The research shows us that when we’re kind to others, we not only boost each recipient’s wellbeing; it tends to have the same effect on our own sense of wellness too.

Being kind can help us connect with others, and our relationships play a crucial role in our mental health and wellbeing in the long term.

There are hundreds of ways children and adults can show kindness every day. And it can be fun to sometimes turn these acts into larger events, to really emphasise their importance and value.

Step 5: “Be resilient”
Being resilient means bouncing back when you encounter challenges, set backs or failures.

We all go through times when we struggle, so building our resilience is crucial to helping us cope.

One way to build resilience in children is to help them develop a growth mindset. This relates to the belief that our abilities and intelligence can develop with practice, feedback and effort.

Children with a growth mindset are more likely to try again when they fail at something, and also to attempt to learn how they can improve.

8% of teachers see GCSE plan as fair

Source TES 23/2/21

Exclusive: Just 8% of teachers see GCSEs plan as fair
Only tiny minority of teachers think DfE/Ofqual GCSE and A-level plans will lead to fair grades for all, Tes poll finds

GCSEs and A levels 2021: Just 8 per cent of teachers see Ofqual and DfE plan as fair, a Tes poll shows
Just 8 per cent of teachers are confident that Ofqual and Department for Education plans for this year’s GCSEs and A levels will lead to fair results for all.

The findings from a Tes survey responded to by more than 6,500 teachers in England come in the week that the final arrangements, following the cancellation of this year’s exams, are due to be announced.

Ofqual and the DfE have proposed that students are graded through teacher assessment, with papers set by exam boards used as a basis for their judgements.

In full: GCSE and A level 2021 – Ofqual and DfE proposals

GCSEs 2021: Teachers to mark exam board questions

Exams: Ofqual’s letter on summer grades

But more than half (56 per cent) of teachers responding to the Tes survey said they lacked confidence, or had no confidence at all, in the grading plan producing fair results for students.

Confidence in Ofqual proposals – survey

In their survey responses, teachers have queried how the papers from exam boards would be different to exams, as well as the proposal that these papers could use questions from previous years’ exams.

GCSEs and A levels 2021: Teachers lack faith in DfE and Ofqual plans
“You cannot tell students that there aren’t any exams and then suggest that there are optional papers. That’s changing the goalposts and leaving students confused,” one teacher said.

Another said: “The proposal to hold mini exams for GCSE students seems to be another ill-thought disaster looming if given the go-ahead, as any experienced teacher knows.

“Some of the ideas seem naive – eg, the suggestion that the ‘test’… that might be set could include material from past papers. What do they think students will be using to practice?” another queried.

One teacher described the plans as “Vague. Ill-thought-out. Basically, it’s exams, isn’t it? But marked by teachers. And taken by under-taught, isolated children who are anxious”.

Some raised concerns over how the proposals would mitigate the learning loss experienced by students.

A teacher in a private school said: “I don’t see how there can be a level playing field between schools such as mine with almost full engagement with live taught lessons, 100 per cent device/broadband coverage and schools not able to deliver this/with lower coverage.”

And others said they lacked confidence because of the fiasco over GCSE and A-level grading in 2020.

“Given the absolute shambles that was last year, I struggle to be confident in them. The only bonus is the consultation period,” one teacher said.

“The fact that there was no contingency plan already in place in case exams needed to be cancelled after last year completely baffles me,” another said.

The DfE has been contacted for comment.

An Ofqual spokesperson said: “We recognise how difficult the past year has been for students and teachers due to disruption caused by the pandemic.

“We are working to put in place arrangements for awarding which are as fair as they can be in these difficult circumstances.

“Our joint consultation with the Department for Education generated more than 100,000 responses, and we are grateful to all who responded. We will announce the results of the consultation later this week.”

Liverpool’s Early Help Directory


Healthy Eating & Exercise
Healthy eating and getting regular physical exercise are key to maintaining positive wellbeing as well as keeping your body healthy; our physical health and mental health are closely linked, so physical activity can be very beneficial for our mental health and general wellbeing.


Exercise could be any physical activity. However, we normally consider exercise to be an activity that is deliberately for fitness or training, rather than something that is part of our daily routine. Everyone’s level of exercise is different and people prefer different types. Some ways to exercise could be:

Going for a walk
Joining an exercise class like Yoga, Pilates, Zumba etc.
Playing football or other sports
There are many others types of exercise but it is important to choose ones that will keep pushing you further while maintaining your well-being. Try doing 2-3 activities a week to maintain a healthy balance.

Healthy Eating
Eating a healthy balanced diet is important for wellbeing. Your gut and your brain use similar chemicals, so keeping your gut healthy can help to keep your brain healthy.

A balanced diet includes:

Eating 5 pieces of fruit and vegetables a day
Basing meal on starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta.
Having some dairy or dairy alternatives (like soya drinks)
Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat in small amounts
Drink plenty of fluids.
Quick tips on a healthy diet
Eating breakfast starts your metabolism and gets your day off to a good start.
Try eating smaller portions throughout the day.
Avoid foods that make your blood sugar rise and fall rapidly, such as sugary snacks, sugary drinks, caffeine and alcohol.
Keep yourself Hydrated, include water, herbal teas or diluted fruit juice.


Liverpool’s Early Help Directory

Feeling Lonely

Feeling lonely doesn’t always mean you are alone, you can be surrounded by people and still feel like you’re own your own.
There are lots of reasons why you may feel alone including:
Moved to a new school or to live in a new town/city
Are currently or have been the victim of bullying
You may have a disability or suffer from a physical or mental illness
You may find it difficult to make friends or meet new people
You may feel anxious or be suffering from depression
You may not get on with your family or may be living in care
It can be difficult having to deal with any of these whilst feeling lonely and can sometimes lead to you feeling down or depressed, if you feel like this then you can get help.

If you feel lonely
There are lots of things you can do that can help:

You can talk to someone you trust such as a teacher, parent or youth worker.
You can join after school clubs or get involved in activities outside of schools such as sports, drama or music.
You can also talk to someone in one of the Liverpool CAMHS Community Plus Hubs.

Liverpool’s Early Help Directory


The Liverpool CAMHS Partnership

COVID-19 Support
Support during this difficult time.
If you are a child or young person, parent or carer in crisis, you can call the Alder Hey CAMHS crisis care line 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0151 293 3577 or freephone 0808 196 3550 Email

The Liverpool CAMHS offer aims to promote the mental health, emotional and wellbeing of all children, young people and their families/carers.

We work with families and professionals to develop their skills and strengths; helping them to manage children and young people’s distress and the impact this may have on the child, young person and the family.

Working alongside children and young people, we aim to improve access to services that provide vital support to build resilience, as well as offering help and intervention, enabling children and young people to thrive.

Liverpool CAMHS Partners are commissioned by NHS Liverpool CCG. These partners are:

ADDvanced Solutions Community Network
ADHD Foundation
Barnardo’s Action with Young Carers
Fresh CAMHS at Alder Hey
Merseyside Youth Association
Mersey Care Trust
Alder Hey Eating Disorder Service for Young People (EDYS)
Young Person’s Advisory Service is the website for the Liverpool Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) partnership.

The site contains:

Information about Liverpool CAMHS
A directory of Liverpool CAMHS providers and other local agencies, including details of the support services they provide and how to access them
Local and national emotional health and wellbeing support services for children, young people and their families
Useful resources, toolkits and information about emotional health and wellbeing
News and information about local events, activities, partners and other local agencies
Free training opportunities (including booking facility) for professionals working with children and young people

Who to contact
Contact Name
Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
Contact Position
CAMHS Single Point of Access (SPA)
Single Point of Access: 0151 293 3662
Alder Hey CAMHS crisis care line 0151 293 3577 or freephone 0808 196 3550Website
Referrals can be made via the Single Point of Access number by General Practitioners (GP) or other professionals within the statutory and community sector, for example, any health professional, teachers, school mentors, connexions, social workers, youth and community workers, providing the young person or family has consented to the referral.

Where to go
Alder Hey Children’s Hospital
L12 2AP