Hello and welcome to the ELSA page. I will be continuing to provide ELSA support via email to all pupils and parents during the school closure. I have put some key resources on this page for you to use at home to support and develop your child's emotional literacy, I will update these regularly. I will be posting weekly ELSA work for children to complete at home with parents or on their own.
Please scroll to the bottom of the webpage to find weekly activities and links. If you would like any more worksheets and activities (including disorder specific work) please email me directly.
I have shared resources, a brain break, weblinks and social stories for children and information for adults on how to manage mental health and wellbeing - including disorder specific guidance on the ELSA page on the 'Key Information' Tab of the school website.
If you have any questions, need support or just fancy a chat please email firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to hearing from you.
Many thanks and warmest wishes
Mrs Vicky Day ELSA, Wellbeing Lead and DDSL
Children’s social and emotional skills begin to develop from a very young age. Building a good understanding of emotions when you’re young helps you relate to others and manage your own mental health later on. Talking openly with children about how they feel and why, enables them to start recognising and understanding different emotions. Follow these simple steps from our friends at Feeling Better to start a conversation…
Try asking your child to describe how they are feeling, and follow up with open questions about what’s happened to make them feel this way. For example; ‘Tell me about how you are feeling?’ or ‘What has happened to make you feel like this?’ Talking will help your child process their feelings and make sense of them, as well as calming them down.
Once your child has described how they are feeling help them put a label on it like Radha does in this clip. Are they feeling angry? Worried? Scared? Frustrated? Happy? Doing this will help increase their vocabulary, and make it easier to recognise the emotion the next time they experience it.
It’s important that your child knows that it’s okay to feel different emotions, even if it’s not a nice feeling. Experiencing emotions like jealousy, envy or even feeling selfish can help us learn about ourselves and other people. Reinforce to your child that we all experience challenging feelings.
There are lots of complex emotions that might seem hard to describe to your child. Help them understand by giving examples of a time you felt this way. You could describe what happened to make you feel this way and share what you did to make yourself feel better.
The pupils of North Curry Primary School are brilliant at brain breaks! Brain Breaks, as the children will tell you are an excellent way of reducing stress, being mindful and re-setting. I have attached a link for a brain break for the children (and adults) when you need time to de-stress.
Learning to identify and regulate emotions is a big job, especially for children. Rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy, the Zones of Regulation is a framework that uses four colors to help children identify their feelings and support emotional regulation. By understanding how to notice their body’s signals, detect triggers, read social context, and consider how their behaviors impact those around them, children learn improved emotional control, sensory regulation, self-awareness, and problem-solving skills.
Which zone are you in? Please use the 4 zones to support your child to identify which zone they are in. The Green Zone is where we aim to be. Ask what can we do to change zones..take a break, do something you enjoy, talk to someone about how you feel and why. Talk about how you can change zones, what strategies to use to calm, relax and regulate.
Secure boundaries set by parents and carers reduce anxiety. Rules and routines like meal times, bed time and screen time are set and monitored create predictability in a child's life. This predictability lowers uncertainty and that reduces anxiety.
Setting boundaries does not mean lessening your child's emotions or free expression even if this is expressed by anger. When a child re-negotiates with a parent, for example a later bedtime, this can give the child more feeling of power which can effect the child's overall feeling of security.
The Anger Iceberg represents the idea that, although anger is displayed outwardly, other emotions may be hidden beneath the surface. These other feelings—such as sadness, fear, or guilt—might cause a person to feel vulnerable, or they may not have the skills to manage them effectively.
Cognitive Triangle is a widely used form of psychotherapy that helps individuals understand the connection between their thoughts and feelings, and how thoughts and feelings influence their behaviour. ... How one interprets it affects how one feels, thinks and behaves. The outcome can be healthy or unhealthy.In ELSA we support children by validating and supporting any emotion a child presents. We discuss how your thoughts make us feel and how that influences our behaviour. This CBT model can be the foundation to Growth Mindset and positive thinking.
There are some simple things that you can do to look after your mental health, either by yourself or with other people.
It’s good for your mood! Did you know that your mind is affected by what you eat? Try to eat healthy food and drink plenty of water, to keep your body and brain feeling good!
Scientists have discovered that exercise makes you feel good. It can be anything from football, skating or running to yoga and trampolining – whatever you enjoy!
Talk to other people about things that are bothering you and how you are feeling. Children have told us that, although it can be difficult at first, talking with a good friend, family member or a grown-up you trust can really help.
Make a list of things that you like about yourself – this could be about your personality, what kind of friend you are, the way you look and things that you can do. If you find it hard to think of ideas, ask yourself “if someone close to me was writing this list about me, what would they say?”. Keep this list and look at it when you’re finding it hard to believe in yourself
People find different things help them relax – it could be having a bath, watching a funny film, drawing, reading or going for a walk. Try different things and see what works for you.
Try to go to bed at a similar time each night and get up at a similar time each morning. Avoid using computers or playing on things like iPads before bed – the light they make can keep your brain awake even after you stop playing!
Developing a daily routine can help us to feel more in control of everything, and help us to make room for all that’s important. Routine can aid our mental health. It can help us to cope with change, to form healthy habits, and to reduce our stress levels. I am often asked about night routines to aid relaxation and good sleep patterns.
By following the same routine at the same time each night will help provide secure boundaries for children especially in times of change and anxiety. Having a routine they can rely on will help to make them feel safe and secure. If your child struggles to fall asleep, story CD's can be very helpful especially when turned down to a low sound level so the brain has to 'reach' to hear it.
All children whatever age experience fear, worry and anxiety. Children are sensitive to what happens around them and look to adults to model reactions. Children sometimes cannot say that they are anxious instead you may see some behaviours. Children may be: irritable, tearful, clingy, difficulty sleeping, bed wetting, bad dreams. In older children you may see a lack of confidence, angry outbursts, search for control and negative thinking. Using helpful phrases (see below) is a good way of allowing your child to question and problem solve for themselves, which is empowering.
The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steve Peters is the author of 'Hidden Chimp' he simplifies the neuroscience of the mind for children and helps them understand how their brains work.
In the chimp model, the inner chimp is the emotional team within the brain that thinks and acts without our permission. It is independent and works upon feelings and impressions and puts information together using emotional thinking.
The logical team is the real person, it is you and your rational thought - the human. The computer is the memory bank and references information. It acts as a memory and can also act as automatic thinking ready to take over if the Chimp or the Human is asleep or if they allow it to run ahead of them with preformed decisions and beliefs that it can act with.
We use this is ELSA to help children separate their behaviour from themselves. It allows children to see where and how behaviour can be changed. The children I work with name there 'inner chimp' and I have a cuddly chimp in my office who gets into lots of trouble!
Setting aside time for worry, choose a time each day to share how you are feeling.
Brain Break - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk_qU7l-fcU
Guided Meditation for younger children
Guided Meditation for older children - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Dc05uSPESI
Guided Imagery Activity https://healthpoweredkids.org/lessons/guided-imagery-for-younger-children/
Activity - Can you draw your happy place?
ELSA Support April Wellbeing calendar https://www.elsa-support.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/april-calendar.pdf
Take a calming strategy - https://www.elsa-support.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Take-a-coping-strategy.pdf
Roll a question - discussion tool https://www.elsa-support.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Roll-a-positive-question.pdf
Emotion Wheel Art Therapy https://www.elsa-support.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Emotions-wheel-art-therapy.pdf