One of my passions as an educator is student wellbeing. This is because I witness, daily, the important reciprocal and interconnected relationship between wellbeing and learning. I see wellbeing as a multi-faceted concept involving much more than just physical health. It’s a combination of a person's emotional, mental and social health and it also reflects how they feel about themselves and their life in general.
Some of the factors that I observe that make up a student’s wellbeing include:
- Being involved in supportive relationships
- Feeling that their life has meaning and purpose
- Feeling connected to others in the community
- Feeling a sense of control of their emotions
- Engaging in activities that are important to them.
For many students, the Term 3 holiday break offers a welcome opportunity to step back, unwind and rest up for a busy term ahead, but for other students, the lack of consistency and routine means they can fall into some bad habits such as staying up late, sleeping in all morning, spending too much time on screens and devices and not maintaining meaningful connections with friends. All these things can impact on an individual’s wellbeing.
Here are some thoughts on how you can support your child’s mental health and wellbeing in the holiday period.
- Stay connected - Encourage your child to keep in contact with friends over the holidays
- Stay in a routine - Encourage your child to wake up around the same time each day, get out of bed when they wake up, and go to bed around the same time each night.
- Stay physically active – it is easy to fall out of the routine of exercising regularly without the structures of extra-curricular sport and physical education. Even small activities, like walking the dog, can help provide the benefits of physical activity (elevating heart rate, oxygenating the brain and increasing the release of endorphins) which have positive effects on health and wellbeing both in the short and long term
- Eat well – a well-balanced diet can help with sleeping patterns, energy levels, mood, and general health and wellbeing
- Talk a little but talk often - A big part of healthy adolescent development is social connection. Without the presence of their peers each day, teenagers can ruminate on problems and challenging situations in their life. Avoid setting up unnatural “we need to talk” talks but look to spend time with your child, doing something together like taking a drive, going for or a walk or having structured device-free times such as in the car or at mealtimes.
I wish all our students a happy and restful break and look forward to seeing them return to school in Term 4, having maintained a healthy routine and set of habits that support their own wellbeing.
Middle School Leader