Here you’ll find a collection of resources for yourself, the children you care for, and the families you support.
Resources for children
What is anxiety? A guide for young people, from the team at Barnardo’s
Calm Zone Activities and tools from the team at Childline, to help children feel better when they're feeling anxious, scared or sad.
BookTrust Mental Health reading list Book recommendations from children’s book experts and well-being specialists
My Mood Stars A toy for encouraging children to talk about and acknowledge their feelings, as well as the feelings of others
Books to support children with anxiety
Huge Bag of Worries by Virginia Ironside and Frank Rodgers
The Worrysaurus by Rachel Bright
Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival
Books to support children with bereavement
Always and Forever by Debi Gliori and Alan Durant
The Memory Tree by Britta Treckentrup
Badger’s Parting Gifts by Susan Varley
Activities to support the children at your setting
Repetitive activities that engage children in everyday activities, such as laying the table, tidying away toys, and helping with other jobs - present learning opportunities, but also help children to feel normal and provide opportunity for them to feel helpful and responsible, which can counter a feeling of helplessness.
Take children into nature; to playing fields, a beach, an esturary, a lake, or to climb trees in the woods. Letting the children free in nature not only supports their mental wellbeing; it’s great physical exercise too.
Support children to keep in touch with their network of friends and family by helping them to draw or paint pictures for them, or for older children – encourage them to write letters to friends and relatives. You can extend this activity further by posting the items, and walking with the children to the local post box to start them on their journey.
These can help children cope with big emotions or challenging experiences. Breathing, for example, is a simple, free and easy way to engage children with mindfulness. Lie down somewhere comfy and get the children to imagine there is a balloon in their tummy. As they breathe in, the balloon slowly gets bigger as it inflates. When they breathe out, the balloon effortlessly deflates and gets smaller. Why not try resting their favourite toy on their tummy and let them go along for a calming ride.
There are huge benefits to sensory play, which helps children explore their senses and process new information. Sensory play encourages discovery and independent thinking, as well as inspiring imagination and creativity. Therapeutic sensory play can help calm an anxious or restless child. Try using light up toys as a visual aid, or silk scarves as a tactile experience. These simple items help provide a calming experience to soothe children.
Every child matters Information from the NHS about looking after a child or young person's mental health
Protecting children in the time of COVID-19 A series of professional learning spaces created by the Anna Freud Centre to explore the challenges and opportunities of working with vulnerable children and families during the global pandemic.
Their challenges are our challenges A summary report of the experiences facing nursery workers in the UK in 2020. Anna Freud Centre, February 2021
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