Issue 12 Positive Kids Magazine

Page 1

IssueEleven Eleven Issue Issue Twelve




What’s Inside • Chance To Win

• Alternative Education

• Shannon’s Thailand Trip • Emotional Wellbeing

• New Year, New You • Ollie Coaching


Shellie Becker Ollie And His Superpowers Coach shellie.becker@olliean

Marie O’Sullivan Teacher, Counsellor and I.T. Trainer http://themarieosulliv


Cath Lloyd Life Change Therapist and Stress Relief Consultant

WELCOME Hello Welcome to Issue 12 of Positive Kids Magazine,our biggest ever edition. The coronavirus is making this a challenging time for us all. So, I hope within these pages you will find inspiration and advice which can make things a little easier for you and your children. Don’t forget you can also find lots of support in our facebook discussion group too, there’s videos, suggested activities and people just like you sharing their stories, frustrations and joys. If you are not already a member, please join for free now at: It’s really important that we all support and help each other in these unprecedented times. In addition to the fabulous articles in this issue, I’m excited to be able to offer you not one, but two chances to WIN on page 12. Plus on page 24 you can find out more about how your child’s writing could appear in a special book. We’ve also got some great things for you and your children to make on pages 18 and 29 and two Celebrating Kids Doing Positive Things features. Please do share the magazine with your friends, family and colleagues Sending positive wishes until next time.



9 4





PARENT YOUR HAPPY CHILD Listening to your child builds a connection and trust that is the basis of building a loving relationship. It is also the bridge between you and your child’s hard wired need to feel a sense of belonging and significance. All learning is done through modelling and parents need to model and teach their children how to listen, otherwise messages are easily misunderstood, communication breaks down and both parent and child can get easily frustrated and irritated. Listening helps to create a safe environment for a child in which they want to co-operate with your requests.

By Usha Chudasama Here’s the situation, the family is in lockdown due to the Coronavirus. You have told your child to put their toys away for the umpteenth time but they seem to have selective hearing and keep dragging their feet. Your child has ignored you...again! You’re trying to work from home and run conference calls, and your children insist on tapping you or hitting you to get your attention. Your child is defiant and has disrespected you. You ask your child to go to bed, but they come up with one excuse after another to avoid going to bed. You end up shouting and still they don’t do what you want them to do! Do these situations sound familiar? There is a solution! In order to create the right environment for happier, well behaved and respectful kids, you need to master how to get your child to listen to you.


If your child does not listen to you, it isn’t because they are out to upset you, it’s because the bridge is broken. If children feel controlled, or forced to do something, they will resist, reject and do the opposite thing. They literally feel this break in that connection with you, and they don’t like it, and some children will not be able to verbalise it. That break in connection is an inbuilt safety mechanism in our brain - the fight, flight, mechanism - in a way, it means that we are wired to resist and reject or run away to


So here is an example of a schedule that you can adopt to bring in some structure so that your children are suitably occupied. They will learn life skills in the process.

Remember, a child does not yet have the internal resources, capability or emotional regulation to modify their behaviour. Their brain is still developing and they will develop behaviour problems just to get your attention and to feel a connection with you – EVEN negative attention to them, is attention. Your children are used to having rules and routines in school to keep them occupied for a certain length of time and switching from a brain activity to a physical activity to a relaxing activity.

They will be more motivated to do something that gives them pleasure and keep playing on their iPad or watching TV rather than doing their homework or going to bed‌until you shout at them! When children are triggering a reaction in you - they are communicating to you that they need you to intervene (because the bridge is broken).

Being cooped up with no structure or routine can make them irritated and moody.

The schedule below will help to mix up the brain activity, physical activity and relaxation and family time.

Schedule copyright: Jessica McHale Photography

11 7

WHY LISTENING IS IMPORTANT However, it’s not too late to start working on creating that strong environment whatever age your child is.

However, before you can expect your child to listen to you, evaluate and ask yourself if you are really listening to your child.

By listening and creating a loving bond with your child, you are in fact modelling to your child the beginnings of how to have a good relationship. By listening attentively to your child they are more likely to feel safe enough to share their feelings with you, and when we take the time to listen and understand what is happening with our children, we are demonstrating our love for them.

Parents, I understand, because I have been there...and this lockdown is affecting you too. You have the pressure of the hundreds of things to do and it can make it hard to listen to our children. But you will know that when your child starts to ignore, misbehave, or throw a tantrum, it’s because they don’t feel heard.

Listening is more than just hearing the words our children say. Listening reconnects that disconnected communication.

To overcome the bad behaviour and lack of listening, you need to create a happy home environment where the strong foundation that you build with your children starting from their formative and early years will create happy adults who will pass this on as a foundation for their children.

So how can you communicate with your child in a way that is not forceful or controlling? I have some practical and easy to follow strategies in my e-Book,


UNRAVEL SARA SHEBEAR of our children during this time. Individual differences will begin to be noticed. Some children will choose to get the work out of the way early on. Others may like an intermittent approach across the day. It is important to notice these preferences while also nudging different work approaches when we can, so that behaviours don’t become too rigid. Remember we need to get our children back into school when all this is over.

By Andrea Chatten Many of us, without any previous training or experience, have now become the homeschool educators of our children. This is going to bring many challenges for us as parents and for our children and young people, who are transitioning from school to home learning environments. Some children will undoubtedly be enjoying the more relaxed, less demanding approach and we need to let them work through this without developing negative habits too quickly. The longer we let these new habits go unaddressed, the harder they will be to rectify in the long term. Many other children will be struggling with the change in momentum and so are trying to apply a familiar school style model to their new educational day in order to eliminate feelings of pressure and anxiety. It is important that we recognise, listen to and learn the needs


A real positive from all of this is that we can tailor our children’s new learning environment to match their best models of learning. Some children will enjoy learning in a physical way, e.g. maths circuits in the garden. Others will prefer practical hands-on learning like baking or topicbased work. For many, by doing the learning with us, this will bring an additional magic as long as we allocate our time fully to avoid feelings of frustration. We are all doing the best we can under these circumstances, often with additional life pressures too. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you are not alone.

Top tips for supporting homeschool learning: ��

Be patient. Homeschool learning is going to take time for everyone to settle into. We know we need to do this, but the routine may take time. Just keep working towards your daily goals


Nip negative habits in the bud as early as possible


Involve the children and young people who are at the heart of this to help set up how each day will

HOME SCHOOLING go. If we give them some ownership and control to develop learning timetables, they will be more likely to stick to them ��


and that we have no choice. By changing should to could, we feel like we have a greater sense of control, not only over our thinking but over our behaviours too

Be realistic. You are not going to be doing 5.5 hours (a learning school day) of educational activities a day. Under the circumstances , between 2-4 hours depending on school age means you’re doing a good job Remember to make the day as fun as possible. Our children aren’t getting the social opportunities they need, or the levels of play. We want our children to look back on this time as positively as we can


Remind children of the reality of these circumstances. This is when we can educate on different styles of a working day. Help them to understand that although we need elements of self-discipline, we can adapt to our learning styles too. If the learning is happening, we can be more flexible about when and how


Look out for pressurised language. Children may start using more ‘should’ dialogues: “I should be doing maths now”; “I should be doing schoolwork all day”. Should makes us feel like we are a slave to our thoughts


Communicate emotions throughout this time. If children can learn how to label more accurately what they feel during this situation (and they will feel many different emotions), they will leave the process with increased emotional intelligence, skills and greater self-regulation


Be kind to yourself. This is a huge thing you are being asked to do. Remember, you are doing your best

17 11


WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN In this edition we have the chance for you to WIN not one but two, fabulous books In The Nick Of Time

Kobe and Kenya's mum otherwise known as Chief Inspector Michelle Daley solves the crime of the cat burglar just in the nick of time to attend a very important appointment at her children's school. What a Spectacular way to show that mum is A Super Officer and a Super Mum! Funded by WM Police Innovation Fund, by West Midlands BAPA Stars Before Bedtime Create a calm bedtime ritual with this debut book in the Before Bedtime series, Stars Before Bedtime A soothing journey through the glittering constellations of the night sky woven with tried-and-tested sleep exercises and mindfulness techniques from the bestselling author and clinical psychologist Dr Jessamy Hibberd.

For a chance to win just send an email to by 19 June 2020, with your choice of title in the subject line. Or why not enter to win both?




SHEBEAR CONNECTION learning style. They want to be able to learn things that interest them and which will benefit them in their adult lives.

By Sara Shebear Following on from Sara’s article in Issue 11, here, she discusses,

Heart Centred Learning Heart Centred Learning, embraces children’s natural curiosity to learn. Children are born with a natural curiosity and are interested in learning about the world around them, yet sometimes if this curiosity is not nurtured it can start to diminish. Children start to lose this spark of curiosity and their passion for learning when they are not feeling safe, valued, listened to or when their emotional and physical needs are not being met. Children now have a wealth of information at their finger tips and some cannot see the point of sitting down and having information spoonfed to them. Nowadays, children want to learn in a more enjoyable way, one that gives them options to learn in a way that suits their

Gone are the days when “Children should be seen and not heard”. They have become little adults and therefore expect to be respected as such. Children are more independent and have the ability to talk about their needs and their views. This needs to be embraced by society as a whole. Sometimes, there are children that are so confident about standing up for themselves it makes them seem like they are trouble makers, that they are back-chatting and being disrespectful

Education - to prepare a child for adult life. Parents can listen to their children and trust that their children know what is right for them. Everyone needs to keep an open mind and acknowledge that there are other ways for children to learn the skills to have a successful adult life. All children are different, some thrive with the regiment of school and need to be guided whilst other children prefer a more free-flowing style to learning. Ultimately, the children’s mental and emotional wellbeing needs to be the most important factor in the children’s learning style and environment.

A positive mindset is also very important If a child is told that they cannot do something then they will start to believe it and will limit themselves. Whereas, if a child is told anything is possible as long as you work towards it, then, this gives the child freedom to try new things.


HEARTPOSITIVE CENTRED THINGS LEARNING CELEBRATING KIDS DOING Children need to know that their families are supporting them and they are important human beings, not just their results in a test or qualification. They need to be valued as a member of their local community. Currently, schools have some subjects that children cannot see the point of, yet some practical subjects are being reduced or removed. A more project based style of learning needs to be considered, one that brings in the child’s interests. For example, in ICT an enterprise project can incorporate Celbratingkdsfl product design, financial reports using spreadsheets, design of leaflets and posters and websites for marketing. This uses children’s literacy, numeracy and popular business application skills. At school, even though there may be classes of about 30 children, children are all individuals and this individuality needs to be embraced. There are some children who can concentrate better if they have a fidget toy, there are some who need to get up and move every so often. There are SEN children who would be able to thrive better at school if there was more emphasis on individuality. Parents need to advocate for their children to make sure the school is doing the best to provide for every children’s needs. In some unschooling scenarios children learn what they want to learn, however they want to learn it. If schools start to set aside a couple of lessons a week for children to do their own study project and facilitate their learning this may help children keep their interest in learning.

Some foresee a time when attaining qualifications will be not so important. For some children the process and pressure of studying towards qualifications detrimentally affects their mental health. This problem has been increasing and more children now have mental health issues. Employers don’t understand what the grades of qualifications stand for. They want to see examples of young people’s work, like portfolios, videos, slide shows etc. Some children do not like to be told what to do, so it may be that they become selfemployed and set up their own company doing something that they are passionate about. In this case children need to have entrepreneurial skills. With this new situation ‘education’ needs to be more flexible and led by the child as they instinctively know what will empower them to become future successful adults.

Sara Shebear B.A. Educational Studies Learning Empowerment Consultant

http://www.shebearconnection. com/




Charlie Kelly who is 15 yrs old (16 at the end of April) and from London, has cerebral palsy and autism. During the COVID-19 restrictions, he has created an amazing window display of flags from countries that have been affected by coronavirus. He has had 21,000 likes on just one facebook post, and around 50,000 all together on all his related posts. He is a great example of an inspirational young person taking action to manage his anxiety during this time. Charlie says doing the flags has distracted him from his anxiety, and kept his mind busy. He also goes on his playstation for a few hours a day to play with his friends and once a day goes on a bike ride to get his legs working. He enjoys getting outside.

Don’t forget to send in photos and details of Kids Doing Positive Things, for the next edition. Email:


Charlie advises other kids to stay at home and protect themselves and the elderly. He suggests other children should do some things around the house and if they are bored maybe take a look at what he’s done and see if they can do something similar.


CELEBRATING KIDS DOING POSITIVE THINGS Some of the other things Charlie has done to occupy himself include a We Love the NHS Board with a design made out of wooden hearts and a 3D model of Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge stadium.


MARIE O’SULLIVAN Do you remember how the fidget spinner craze was rampant a few years ago? Many children love exploring objects in a tactile way. These can be comforting for little hands. Often children can have sore hands as they learn to master handwriting. Objects like stress balls can help to alleviate some of the physical tension. I’ve often used them in the classroom to give little hands a break. Did you know that they can also help to foster mental and emotional well being by giving a child a safe distance to explore how they may be feeling? Right now, given that many children are not attending school, just like adults, they may be experiencing a range of emotions. But unlike adults, they may not have developed coping skills to help them to process and handle these feelings. Making a stress ball together can be a playful, child-friendly way to open up the conversation. It’s also a form of sensory play that can ease anxiety and help with self-regulation by enabling children to be more present and to feel more relaxed. By making a stress ball the child can begin to feel a sense of mastery. A homemade stress ball also gives the child a sense of ownership, so they may be more likely to use it. It’s a lovely activity to do with your child or children. You could encourage your child to use their stress ball when they are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or angry. Stress balls can make a lovely addition to an at-home calm box. Here are the instructions for making your own stress ball at home: Materials needed:

• Scissors • T-shirt or apron • Flour/porridge/lentils/playdough/rice • A funnel or a jug • A tablecloth/kitchen roll/basin/sink • Water bottle • Balloons (plain, no writing) • Sharpies • Ribbon (optional) Step One: Roll up your sleeves and put on an old t-shirt or apron to protect your clothes. Step Two: Protect your working area by covering a table with a tablecloth or kitchen roll. Alternatively, you might find it easier to work in a sink area or to stand over a bucket. Step Three: Using a funnel or a jug carefully pour the selected material (flour/lentils/porridge, etc.) into the water bottle. Make sure you check with an adult first for permission


MAKE A STRESS BALL OLLIE COACHING Step Four: Select your favourite balloon colour. Does it remind you of anything? E.g. if you have chosen a yellow balloon you might like to explain why. Blow up the balloon until it’s almost full and then twist the end, but remember not to tie it in a knot.

Step Five: Carefully place the twisted end on the mouth of the water bottle. Step Six: Next, turn the bottle upside down and allow the contents to settle in the balloon.

Step Seven: Gently allow the air to escape. Then shake away any excess material.

Step Eight: Cut the top off the balloon, making sure that you are using the scissors safely. It’s a good idea to ask an adult to help. Ensure that the remaining circular part is sitting flat against the contents.


MAKE A STRESS BALL Step Nine: Take another balloon the same colour as the first one you chose. Cut the top off the second balloon. Put the top part in the bin. Take the remaining circular part and fit it over the first balloon. Tip: An easy way to stretch a balloon is to blow it up and allow it to deflate a few times. You can ask an adult to help you! Optional: You may find that you need to repeat this step with a third balloon to fully secure the contents.

Step Ten: Decorate by drawing a face on your stress ball. Talk about your chosen facial expression. Can you think of a time that you felt like that? What worked well to help you to feel better? You might like to make a few stress balls and decorate them with different facial expressions. Now that you have made your stress ball, close your eyes. Holding your stress ball, breathe in and squeeze it very tightly. As you breathe out, release the tension in your hand. Repeat until you gradually notice that you are feeling more relaxed. I hope you enjoy this activity!



MAKE MATHS FUN Great game which improves children's maths skills and reduces maths anxiety.



HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED WITH POSITIVE KIDS ● You or your children can write for us ● Subscribe and get the magazine delivered to you ● Advertise ● Distribute the magazine ● Run a local version of the magazine in your area ● Join the discussion at Email for more information: Or text or call: 07890 051638

Family Festivals and Events across the UK Networking for children's well-being providers and specialists Find out more at Email


National Share A Story Month 2020: "RAINBOW Letters to Mother Earth" Writing Competition In honour of National Share-A-Story Month (NSSM), an annual celebration of the power of storytelling and story sharing, we're providing a fantastic opportunity to fulfil one of the core aims of the WHOLISTIC Love Enrichment Programme (WLEP) of enriching children's and young people's lives by bringing them and their stories together. It is our full intention to empower young LIFE explorers to explore their emotions and express their unique voice and positive responses for inspired action - for the future of all living beings and for the future of the WHOLE Planet. The Planet We Share The theme for 2020 "The Planet We Share" is very wide and can include stories about the peoples, the animals and also the state of our planet as well as anyone or anything we share this planet with. We are excited to offer a writing competition for the selection of 100 winners to include their stories, in the form of letters if they wish, in the illustrated book "Rainbow Letters to Mother Earth: 100 Inspiring Stories in response to a Planet in Crisis". The competition will close at noon on Tuesday 30th June 2020. All submitted entries to our competition will be celebrated on our website, at a dedicated blog page, and in our


newsletters. A selection of these entries will also be published either in the Positive Kids Magazine or on their Facebook page. There will be educational webinars for parents, educators and anyone who cares for Mother Earth. and a range of interesting blogs from national and international authors along with illustrators and other lovers of books on the website during May and June – check them out! Call for Entries Rainbow Letters to Mother Earth Competition Rules • Entries are welcome from pupils and students aged 5 to 21 years • Entries may be prose or poetry in the form of a letter (optional), of no more than a maximum length of 500 words • Entries must be submitted via electronic means – email, in an easily readable format e.g. Word, PDF, electronic scan or picture (if forwarding an illustration) or using Pages. • Entries must reflect the theme of our planet, Mother Earth, as our home, and our connection with natural phenomena, the elements, the cosmos and the underlying messages of Hope, Togetherness, Compassion in Action and Kindness in some form – e.g. the writer’s home or an imaginary home of a different person or living creature.


The entry fee is £20.00 (GBP) standard rate per individual story to cover admin costs. Payment can be made electronically by PayPal. UK based entrants can also utilise BACS payment. Please get in touch by email here:

chrisoula@wholisticlove if you have queries •

Entries must be submitted by the closing date of 12 noon on 30th June 2020 to

chrisoula@wholisticlove •

Entries will be chosen by the Positive Publicity editing team in collaboration with WLEP and the final 100 winners will become co-authors in the book Rainbow Letters to Mother Earth. The judges decision will be final. Updates about the writing competition and the book project are available on

http://www.chrisoulasirigou.c om/rainbow-letters-to-mother-earth-writing-competition/ We look forward to many of you joining in and sharing your Rainbow Letters to Mother Earth this May. Good Luck to all entrants! ChriSOULa Sirigou

Founder of WHOLISTIC Love Enrichment Programme Chrisoula’s first book:The Book of Soulful Musings: Inspiring Conversations to Live LIFE with Love Intention Flow Ease (Golden Muse Publishing, Nov 2018) has reached hundreds of readers so far in many countries in Europe, USA, Canada and South Africa.



It would appear that although there has been an evolution of psychology over the past two decades with the emergence of positive psychology (the science of happiness), there has not been the reduction of mental health issues in society that you would expect with such concepts being developed, communicated to the world, and more readily available than ever before. In fact, statistics suggest quite the opposite with the percentage of the British population (children, young people and adults) with Mental Health issues continuously rising. The reasons for this rise are multiple, and on another day could be discussed, individually, at length, however, I do believe an element of responsibility lies with the lack of education in emotional intelligence for children and families. When I say emotional intelligence, I am referring to the understanding and awareness of one’s own emotions and the development of strategies in dealing with these emotions as and when they rear their heads. The education system has been so preoccupied with ensuring the next

generation produce optimal academic results each year that unfortunately the concepts of understanding the importance of one’s own well-being has plummeted to the bottom of the priority list which, apparently, does not bode well for the future. The pressures of the modern world we now find ourselves in would suggest that the development of understanding yourself, and how to maintain positive mental health and well-being, is as crucial now as it has ever been; if not even more so. However, it would seem that the focus pendulum of the education system is now beginning to swing in the direction of building character, resilience, positivity and emotional intelligence in children and young people. When Katy Bird was appointed as Headteacher of Leasowe Primary School in 2016 she had a vision of creating the most inclusive mainstream school in Britain with a primary focus on teaching and developing emotional intelligence, positivity, resilience and mental strength whilst still delivering a quality academic education. It very quickly became clear that strategic moves needed to be made to support the positive mental health and well-being of not just the pupils and staff, but also the families and community. This became the key priority that everything else hinged upon. Part of many strategic moves from the headteacher was to develop my role as the Pastoral Care / Mental Health & Well-being Manager and task me to lead a development of whole school and individual approaches to support the mental health and well-being of ALL stakeholders involved not only in the school, but throughout the local community. Three years later in October 2019


MENTAL HEALTH WELL-BEING IN SCHOOL MENTAL HEALTH AND AND WELLBEING IN SCHOOLS Leasowe Primary were one of the first schools to be inspected under the new OFSTED framework and were rated as ‘Outstanding in Personal Development’; a huge achievement and step towards the headteacher’s ambitions. This inspection proved that, although there has been little change in regard to the massively high expectations for academic achievement through ‘one size fits all’ testing, there is now a massive emphasis on developing character, personality, resilience and strength of mind. This specific criteria of the inspection is measured by how well they deem the school to be supporting children in developing their character by way of; self-reflection, understanding how to, and the link between, keeping physically and mentally healthy and essentially if schools are equipping children to become positive, contributing, respectful members of society. However, the issue that appears to be immediately presented is this: how do schools do this? What systems and strategies do they put in place and how do they do this on a whole school basis? It would seem that schools are now being given the destination they need to arrive at, but with no compass; being left to their own devices to conjure up the systems, structures and strategies that they believe are appropriate and effective. This is a difficult task given that schools for so long have been given the prime, number one objective to achieve the highest possible grades through testing at the end of key stages; now they have to think outside the box to ensure that emotional intelligence, resilience and mental strength is being taught too. Although this is a great leap in the right direction, more solid direction and support is needed to create a feeling of


consistency and togetherness.

At Leasowe Primary we found solutions before we were advised to because of the ethos presented by the headteacher; we were already focusing on what we believed children and young people need to succeed in life. We developed a Mental Health & Well-being Register that is informed by an in-house referral system, introduced specific, specialised staff coaching to support staff well-being and maintain inclusive practice, created an inclusive ethos throughout the school through wholesale changes, specific approaches and staff training, introduced weekly whole class emotional intelligence sessions through H;APT - a company who teach self-management and wellbeing strategies to children and young people and we also developed a Family Liaison Officer role which has now become an absolute necessity for family well-being support. Although we knew what we were doing was good, we wanted to make it better, pull it together into the complete whole school approach to personal development and positive mental health and well-being for all stakeholders. We then introduced The

MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING IN SCHOOL Rest Easy Method. This method and approach gave us a way to umbrella our structures and strategies and embed the teachings and practice of emotional intelligence into our curriculum and community on a daily basis to create positive habits for all; a positive way of talking, thinking and behaving for children, families and staff that we all use as part of a lifestyle. The structures and systems we have developed, discovered and implemented are now flagship for the future of teaching and developing emotional intelligence in children and young people. Pupils and families who were not engaged, happy or achieving are now actively engaged with school, have gained momentum in finding their happiness and are supportive of each other within the community using the positive structures developed with school. Children who were previously trapped in a cycle of negative and challenging behaviours are now displaying respectful, happy demeanours with a desire to learn and support others. Understanding and regulating emotions is so embedded within the curriculum at Leasowe Primary that all pupils, staff and families are using the same language, techniques and strategies on a day to day basis; everybody is singing from the same hymn sheet and an increase in positive well-being in the school and community is evident for all to see. Moving forward, through a solid passion and belief in what we do at Leasowe, we want to share our practice and methods to benefit others. We have designed , a strategic action plan of implementation. and have developed an outreach department to consult with other schools


across the Wirral. Additionally, we have developed a partnership and focus group with the therapeutic team from a local outstanding SEN residential school with a plan to distribute outstanding methods, structures, strategies and practice to all schools who engage. This is with a vision to create consistent and constant approaches to support positive mental health and well-being in schools throughout the borough and beyond. Our belief at Leasowe Primary is that sharing practice and developing a solid structure nationally to embed the teaching of emotional intelligence, character, resilience and mental strength is the way forward for the education system:-, the next step, with methods that work, created by experts and delivered by experts on the front line. These are proven ways to embed the education of emotional intelligence into the curriculum at no cost to any academic learning and should be used to support the next generation of the nation to become the happiest, most resilient version of themselves as they venture into the world. If you would like any more information, advice or guidance regarding the implementation of whole school and individual strategies for children, young people, families and teachers please feel free to contact Jimmy Cross on the following email address: Please also check out and join the Facebook group ‘LPS WELL-BEING ADVICE & SUPPORT’ for daily advice and subscribe to the YouTube channel

‘Jimmy Cross Well-being Support’


Ingredients and Method 500g plain flour 250 g salt 250 ml water Mix into a dough Roll out, then press your handprints Bake in the oven on the lowest temperature for 3-4 hours Paint the handprints and then varnish to seal it Do share your lockdown creations in our facebook group:


DEBBIE VALLEJOS was lots of fun. We videoed the shows and it was great to look back at these and see the children’s reactions. It reminded me of my childhood love of the muppets. It was much later though, many years after I qualified and around my fortieth birthday when I decided to do a puppetry training course. I did this with the Bamboozle Theatre Company in Leicester. They specialise in the use of puppetry in special education. I’ve built up my skills from there, practising at home. When did you first become interested in puppets Debbie? I’ve always loved puppets. From an early age I enjoyed watching shows like the Muppets, Sesame Street and Avenue Q. That’s how I learned to read and write actually from shows like Sesame Street and Avenue Q, I didn’t really have the concentration for traditional learning back then, but those programmes had me totally engrossed. I remember once seeing one pf my heroes Jim Henderson being interviewed on a talk show and he was holding and talking through Kermit the frog. No one was paying attention to Jim they were just totally focused on Kermit and I loved it. When did you first start using them in schools? I was studying theatre, history and education at university to become a teacher. For one of the modules we built puppets and a puppet theatre and took them out into schools. We used them to teach English and literacy and it


How do you use the puppets in the classroom? Puppets help children connect and understand and have fun as well. I work as a supply teacher and wanted to create something memorable so the children and schools would remember me as I wasn't there all the time, and to be able to create a relationship with the children straight away as otherwise they might be conscious of me being a new person. It’s worked really well, people say to me now, ‘Oh you are Mrs V, with the puppets.’ I use puppets in many lessons including English, Maths and P.H.S.E. I sometimes also use them at register and in circle time when I will include several puppets. I have used them with all ages in nursery and throughout primary school. I adapt the characters of the puppets to suit the


Some of Debbie’s puppets: Rhonda, Gordon, Len and Dennis age of the children. Macho bear was one of the first ones I got. He’s very lovely and fluffy and not a ferocious bear at all. He’s very gentle and quiet and he loves eating honey. He takes lots of breaks and has lots of snacks and he’s always hungry. Sometimes he reads stories and he makes mistakes and the children love correcting him. I’ve also used him to do number bonds up to 10 etc. Fred and Rhonda are twins with very different personalities. Rhonda is quite loud and silly and Fred is calm and sensible. Krispy is a crow that flies about the classroom but sometimes crashes into things. He demonstrates issues like ‘using kind hands’ with the kids. What are the benefits of using puppets? I’ve found that children who find it difficult to respond to adults and


authority figures can often interact more easily with puppets. They see the puppet as being on their wavelength and I ensure the puppets make mistakes as well and this gives the children reassurance that its ok if they make mistakes too. I work with some children who are autistic or who have A.D.H.D. etc.and they seem to really respond well to puppets. They relax a lot more when the puppet is talking to them rather than just me. They feel more able to relate to it. When we are discussing friendship in P.H.S.E for example, I find that even the children who don’t usually contribute, start to, because they want to get the puppets attention and they don’t worry so much about what they are saying.

PUPPETS IN EDUCATION There was one five year old girl in particular who was really self conscious and found speaking out very difficult, she was unnerved by almost everything and would completely withdraw, and at first when I tried to engage her in conversation she wouldn't, and would almost get aggressive. Gradually as she got to know the puppets she started to talk to them and now when they are out she darts towards them. She now engages with me too. I guess she thinks that I can’t be too bad if the puppets hang out with me. Whenever I go into school now the children ask me about Macho Bear, Fred and Rhonda and Krispy Crow etc They are disappointed if I don’t have them with me. So I’ve found its a really good way to get children to open up and share things and be vulnerable as well. They really helped for example when we were discussing bullying. Children gained confidence from the fact they felt they were sharing their thoughts with the puppet not an adult. I work with children from lots of different backgrounds and personalities. Sometimes when they come into the classroom they are not concentrating because there’s so much going on, but if I get Krispy the Crow out or Rhonda they start to focus on them and go quiet and pay attention.

children won’t be enthralled with the puppet. You have to be able to get into character. All my puppets are children of varying ages and I love being childlike. I also do amateur dramatics, so for me this is a fun extension of my acting skills. Obviously you still need to have an overall lesson plan so that you get everything covered, but the format can be more freestyle and responsive. I still use sticker rewards when I do puppet based activities. Whilst the puppets are fun and loveable they also need to show the children respect and mirror the behaviour you want from them. What reaction do you get from parents and other teachers? The reaction has been really positive with other teachers being amazed at how I have been able to interact with children who’ve barely spoken before. One parent told me that her child talks about the puppets at home and she’s seen a real change in his overall self esteem as a result. Where do you get your puppets from? I’ve bought a lot of mine from I want to be even more inclusive, so I’ve also just purchased a wheelchair from Build A Bear that I am going to use with my puppets

What skills does someone need to do this well?

The puppeteer really needs to immerse themselves and be enthusiastic. You can’t be insecure or hold back or the

Debbie Vallejos is a supply teacher from Solihull, West Midlands


EDUCATION, THERAPY ANDJUST JUST FOR FOR FUN IN EDUCATION, THERAPY AND FUN Puppets can also be used in some therapy settings. In some education settings, children also make their own puppets and act out scenarios and how they are feeling. Of course puppets can simply be used for fun and entertainment too. There are lots of websites and videos on YouTube which show you easy ways to create simple puppets at home. This could be a great ‘home’ activity during lockdown. Some links about the educational and therapeutic benefits of puppetry



Well done to Kamai whose book Adventures In The Den has just been published. Kamai wrote the book when he was seven and is now 8 years old. He lives in Wolverhampton with his Mom.

The book can be bought on Amazon

The story is based on a real weekend that he spent with his Dad’s family. Kamai known as K N Williams (his author name) plans to write a book a year. The book was illustrated by his cousin Asher Fai who is studying art and design at university. At 8 years old, Kamai is the youngest author with Marcia M Publishing House. K’s book Adventures In the Den is about Mai Mai. He spends a long weekend with his Dad, and builds a den in his Grandma's garden with sticks and branches. His cousins join in the fun adventures and Mai Mai makes sure that they are all protected with SURVIVAL WEAPONS.

Asher Fai and some of the illustrations Don’t forget to send in photos and details of Kids Doing Positive Things, for the next edition. Email:


HOW’S YOUR FAMILY’S BREATHING? asthma, anxiety, sinusitis, hyperactivity, high blood pressure, poor digestion, exhaustion or just not as much stamina as you’d like. Thankfully, it is possible for almost anyone to improve their breathing, relax, and feel a lot better, one breath at a time. Here are the basics. These are safe and suitable for anyone to do and a good family activity! ALWAYS go gently. If you accidentally overdo anything, and feel like you’re struggling a bit, just take a rest and come back to it later.

Over the last 20 years as a therapist and coach I’ve helped children relax and get more confident, do better in exams, improve their sports performance, and overcome asthma naturally. Parents too.

Step one: Notice (perhaps use a mirror/your camera)

It’s surprisingly simple. Healthy breathing habits support the immune system, boost energy, improve sleep, reduce stress, maintain healthy blood pressure, and help to maintain a lot more essential functions.

At rest: How many breaths do you take per minute (1= breathing in and out) Are your shoulders relaxed and still? Is your posture upright? Is your mouth closed? Is your breathing silent? Are you expanding only your tummy or lower chest to breathe in? Are you feeling relaxed, comfortable and energised?

The next question is, how is your breathing, and what can be improved? We all breathe at least 20,000 times a day, so even a small improvement will help! Unhealthy breathing usually involves breathing too fast or too much for what you’re doing, and/or using the wrong muscles.This is known medically as hyperventilation or over-breathing – think about blowing up too many balloons. You might be surprised to learn that habitual over-breathing means you end up with LESS available oxygen in your body, and you can end up living in fight/flight mode. The cumulative effect (depending on your genetics and current life experiences) could be

Ideally it will have been 10 breaths per minute or less. If you answered yes to the other questions, that’s ideal. If not, there’s some work to do! Step two: Breathing quietly through your nose – yes, in AND out, all the time except when speaking. It reduces over-breathing, filters out a lot of dust, pollen, viruses and germs


HOW’S YOUR FAMILY’S BREATHING? prevents loss of moisture from the mouth (important for your teeth), moistens and warms air before it reaches the throat, and adds key amounts of Nitric Oxide to the oxygen which improves oxygen uptake into the lungs! If you notice yourself mouth breathing, begin by almost closing your lips, and sip air rather than take big gulps. Do this each time you notice, and in a few days you’ll be naturally breathing through your nose a lot more. This applies to doing exercise too. Humming is a great exercise to strengthen nasal breathing habits – pick a favourite song and enjoy! Step three: Finger Under Nose (F.U.N.) is a relaxing way to naturally slow down your breathing: * Place your index finger along your top lip (wet it first if you like to make it easier to feel air flow). * Notice how much air movement you can feel on your finger as you breathe out normally. * Bit by bit slow down your out-breath a little, so the same amount of air is released more gently. You’ll notice that there is less flow of air over your finger. * Allow your body to settle itself into breathing more gently, and feel the relaxation wash over you. Step four: Using the diaphragm well. The most efficient breathing is done in the lowest part of the chest and belly – think of the way a healthy baby breathes. * Lie down, put a small weight on your belly (eg: book). * As you breathe in, gently expand the


stomach muscles and push the object up. As you breathe out, contract the muscles down towards the spine so the object comes down * Always aim for SILENT, GENTLE breathing. * Over time, breathe more slowly, and you can take smaller breaths. Doing these simple, natural things regularly will help you relax and retrain your breathing so it is better every day. There is no down-side to healthy breathing! Thanks for reading! I’m Jen Tiller. Since I overcame decades of chronic, sometimes life-threatening asthma, years of anxiety and PTSD, in the last 20 years I have been helping others to heal and thrive with therapy and coaching, plus training for professionals. I’ve brought together the key elements of Buteyko Breathing (which is clinically proven to overcome asthma, improve blood pressure and stress levels), Reiki, NLP, Hypnosis and other tools to create a powerful programme that is both gentle and effective for even complex and challenging cases. Please get in touch if you’d like to learn more through my online classes, 1-1 therapy sessions, or professional training. FREE breathing assessment: Please quote ‘PositiveKids’ when booking.



My beautiful wife had a traumatic birth in 2004 and severe postnatal depression. Watching Michelle go through these times of uncertainty affected me. Most people don't realise that witnessing a traumatic birth can also affect dads, grandparents and birth partners. What I know now is people can get P.T.S.D which is an anxiety disorder after either experiencing or seeing a life threatening event. At the time, I was never officially diagnosed with postnatal depression, but yes I was suicidal for four months after my boy was born. My personality totally changed after his birth. I was misusing alcohol, while feeling anger and avoiding situations. I felt totally alone, but I put on a happy face and carried on.

27 37 26

I thought it would just get better that I needed to try to get on with things and I was must more concerned for Michelle. I have never felt so lonely and isolated as I did during the first year of fatherhood. Like many mums, I also had a past history of anxiety and low moods and things which I had never dealt with which caused me to have low self-esteem. I didn't get that overwhelming feeling of love for my baby initially, but that did grow as I was at home caring for Michelle for nearly six months. I was doing skin to skin and talking to the baby when Michelle was sometimes so unwell that she couldn’t even get out of bed. I suffered in silence, I didn't tell


REACHING OUT PMH anyone, not even my wife Michelle. I didn't want my problems to impact on her mental health. I thought I had to just "Man Up" as they say, but now I know that the quicker you seek help, the quicker the recovery will be.

In the end, my body couldn't cope and five years later I had a breakdown. At the age of 40, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder plus anxiety and depression.

When it comes to fatherhood, pressures are higher than ever today. There is constant social media and more single and stay at home fathers. Reports suggest that fathers want to be in their children's lives more than ever today.

I began to access community mental health services and was put on medication and took a course of cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness .This turned things around.

Many people don't know though that reports say that up to 39 per cent of new dads wanted support for their own mental health. The research says 1 in 10 dads suffer depression in the postnatal period. Any parent can get postnatal depression.


Michelle’s depression came back when she was looking after me but she has now recovered too and like me she now works in mental health services Ethan, my wonderful boy is doing really well in school and is now an

HOW’SDAD DAD? HOW’S active teenager. He plays football for the team I coach from our local youth club who also helped me as a child. As a family we talk about our mental health openly now, but many parents don’t. I campaign for fathers to be screened for their mental health as well, as sadly the biggest killer in men under fifty in the UK is suicide. I have always said that supporting all parents with their mental health will have far better outcomes for the family and the development of the child. We now know the importance of talking to your baby, expressing love and comfort during pregnancy and during those first two years. If the father is suffering anxiety or depression he will provably not be doing these things. Poor mental health can have a huge impact but if addressed so many relationships with partners and children can be saved. There is no reason why dads in a similar way to mums who suffer with birth trauma or antenatal/postnatal depression, should not access relevant health services I wanted something positive to come out of something negative.Today nearly ten years after having that breakdown in my mental health it’s all changed. I am a keynote speaker and, published author and have spoken on television and radio stations around the world on the topic


of father’s mental health and A.D.H.D. Working with Dr Jane Hanley, I have also published many articles. I have even created International Fathers Mental Health Day which takes place annually on the day after Fathers Day. Now, often, mums phone me up and ask me to chat to their partner as it affects both of them when the father is suffering with his mental health. Sometimes this is purely as a result of the frequent lack of sleep. So, if you are struggling with your mental health, please tell someone. The stigma has now reduced and more people are talking more openly and there is no reason not to. There is light at the end of the tunnel and Michelle and I are living proof of this.

Mark Williams, Training, Keynote Speaking, Consultancy and Campaigning.



‘Whether you are trying to cope with the unthinkable or simply want more from life, this inspiring book will show you how to move forward and achieve more’. SBM When Lauren’s daughter Liora died unexpectedly at just 20, she was devastated. Inspired by Liora’s legacy of having achieved so much and encouraged by the 15,000strong Facebook group that has supported her and her family, Lauren felt compelled to share their story and the tools and techniques that have helped them move forward following Liora’s passing. Lauren’s wish is that this book will also help you to lead a more fulfilling and purposeful life. Inside you will discover Liora’s inspiring story and find out how to use positive mindset techniques and energy tools to enhance your life. Through exercises and activities, you will understand more about yourself, what you want from life and how you can achieve it through consistent action. ‘Liora gave so much and brought so much happiness to so many. Lauren, you are truly amazing and your techniques have helped me feel calmer and happier. I now have a much more positive outlook on life’. NY Lauren Rosenberg is an Energist, International Fear and Phobia Relief Expert, Holistic Therapist, Speaker and Trainer. She uses her skills to help her clients overcome fear and lead more joyful lives.







Life in isolation because of the Coronavirus is a new phenomenon for the majority of the population and is going to be different for all of us. However, I think this period of time in our lives is going to be particularly difficult for those with young children and teenagers. Young children may not understand why the big change in life is happening. Teenagers are a group of people who naturally want to be with their friends and be up close to them. I remember when my daughter was a teenager, I would find them all lounging over one another on the sofa and sometimes I could not quite differentiate my daughter from the other girls. The problem we have here of course, is nobody knows how long we are going

to have to confine ourselves like this. We are always having to go through change whether we have decided to make the change, or the change has been inflicted on us. Change is a fact of life but with this pandemic how do we support ourselves in making the most of life in the confines of our four walls. Change can bring uncertainty to even the most levelheaded person because of the fear of the unknown. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was a change and set out a simple diagram explaining the different stages of change. You can see a representation of this above. Originally this was used in connection with grief a but it now has much wider application.

23 42 22

ADJUSTING TO OUR NEW LIFESTYLES regimented with school runs, getting to work, mealtimes, homework, bedtimes. 3. Exercise and fresh air. Make the most of the hour that is given to you to exercise and get fresh air. his time will allow you to let off steam, blow away the cobwebs, burn some calories and get a better night’s sleep. I must admit it is nice to see families out walking together again. Make use of online exercise classes to help you stay in shape. When the weather is good do this outside in the garden or park. Make it fun. 4. Hobbies.Time is on your side. Reignite some old hobbies or look for some new ones. Get those creative juices flowing. Kids of all ages enjoy being creative and you don’t need to be good at it. Creativity comes in different forms, drawing, painting, cooking, baking, knitting, embroidery, writing, gardening, film making and photography to name a few. Technology gives us a great opportunity to research, learn and then give it a go. 5. Stay connected. It is easier than ever to stay connected with family and friends. Most households have smart phones and some form of laptop or computer. Use it to set up online groups so that you and your children can keep up to date with other important people in your lives, best friends and especially older family members.

The diagram shows the processes we go through with change, but everyone will follow a slightly different performance line depending on how much they are affected by the change inflicted upon them. Thankfully the government has given us very clear guidelines to follow. However, just like with everything, some people are going to be more compliant than others. This compliancy will also have a bearing on the complications of life and health issues. I think we all know someone who is being affected physically or financially by the virus and so it is more and more important to all pull together; to support each other in whatever way we can. Without any doubt we have to be more flexible and start thinking outside the box. Start using all the resources that we have available to us. I have put together a short set of tips on how to adjust to life in isolation from my own experiences and listening to others. 1. Keep a routine. Get up at the same time each day otherwise your daily routine can get out of hand. Getting up late, going to bed late and so the cycle continues getting worse and worse creating long term sleep issues. 2. Plan. Set out what you are going to achieve each day. This will help you keep a sense of purpose and keep life in proportion. After all, a normal day is very


ADJUSTING TO OUR NEW LIFESTYLES 6.. Keep track of the days. Like being on holiday it is easy to lose track of the days. Use a diary to write your gratitude or journalise your thoughts. This is a great grounding technique for all ages and can be done in any format that suits your needs and personality. It can also help dissolve any frustrations and help you see the good things happening in your life. 7.. Your quiet space. However, well organised, flexible and understanding you all are, there are always going to be times when you need to have your own space away from the rest of the family. This is especially important when living on top of one another becomes too much. If we are not careful arguments can start and fallouts can get out of control. Respect each other’s space and don’t be afraid to tell everyone you are going to have half an hour


or so to yourself. This can be time to listen to the music you like, read, have a nap, meditate or just to sit quietly gazing out of the window listening to the birds. However you decide to organise your family, it is rather like the long summer holidays. Everyone’s interests need to be considered, communication is key, love needs to reign so that everyone can come out the other side of this Coronavirus setback as best as we can. One thing is certain we can all learn from this; whether it is more about ourselves, the affects this is having on our environment or more about the science of the coronavirus and COVID-19. If you would like to learn more about managing change, take a look at part two of my book “When Dad Became Joan: Life with my transgender father.” The 7 Steps to Living Your New Normal which will help you come to terms with the change that is being inflicted on you. To buy, visit either to buy it direct or go to



Sleepless nights and dreading going to work tomorrow

�� Confidence low, unable to deal with difficult

people/situations �� Fed up of being unsupported and under valued �� Facing Redundancy & worrying whether you'll get another job �� Overwhelmed by your workload, pressure weighing you down �� At a crossroads but confused about what to do My own career was peppered with episodes of stress, frustration and feeling trapped. I took action for the sake of my health, relationships and sanity. I can help you do the same. ​ W ork is only part of who we are. Specialising in working with you, the human inside your job title, I ensure the changes you make are the right fit and you have the skills and the mind-set to get you there.

**FREE Telephone Taster Session: “Take the Weight off Work & Life” Book Here:

Life Changing Career Coaching with Michelle Tranter