15th July 2022 Leadership & Management Partnership with Parents Early Years Foundation Stage All Posts

Managing stress in children, staff and parents in your setting? Learn the science-backed approaches that work with myHappymind

In June, we teamed up with Laura Earnshaw founder of myHappymind to bring our Connect community a webinar about the science-backed secrets to building resilience, self-confidence and happiness in children. The webinar focused on managing stress in children, staff and parents in your setting and discussed what’s really going on when your staff are stressed and how you can help. 

myHappymind helps nurseries and families create a culture of positive mental wellbeing. The programme gives today’s children the skills to thrive in tomorrow’s world, this is done with simple content, support and science-based research.

Here we’ve taken the opportunity to share with you what we learned from the webinar.

External environmental factors that affect our behaviours

Have you noticed a change in your children since the pandemic, for example, increased anxiety, a greater level of separation anxiety, and delay in speech? Does your team seem tired and burnt out? Or do parents seem more stressed and on edge? The pandemic had an impact on staff, parents and children. From an emotional and mental health perspective, recovery is now only just beginning. 

As well as readjusting to life after the pandemic we are also faced with the cost of living crisis, this may be a difficult time for both parents and staff, with concern regarding salaries and the cost of childcare. The war in Ukraine has generated mass uncertainty and all of this information affects us subliminally, as it is broadcast on TV, social media and in newspapers. This information is almost unavoidable as it is brought to us from every direction.

We can all agree that children’s happiness and well-being, are our number one priority. Implementing a science-backed system for building your children’s wellbeing, self-esteem and resilience is the only way to create sustainable change and avoid the overwhelm and frustration that can come from trying this alone.

Thoughts, feelings and behaviours model

In the webinar, Laura discussed the thoughts, feelings and behaviours model. The model reflects how our thoughts are responsible for the feelings that we feel which are then responsible for how we behave. When you witness a child’s behaviour, you are really seeing their thoughts and feelings.

Laura asked if we act to the behaviour we witness or try to understand the thoughts and feelings of others.  Understanding the thoughts and feelings of others enables us to be empathetic, allowing us to respond appropriately to the behaviour of others.

“Our mind is like a parachute, it just doesn’t work if it isn’t open”.

If children understand how their brain works, they can grasp a better understanding of their emotions whilst building resilience and self-esteem. It is important to teach children how to notice when their brain is not working how it should be, for example when they’re stressed and worried. 

myHappymind teaches strategies to help us educate children on how to recognise this to show them how to calm their brains down.

“Our character is who we are when we think no one is watching”.

Celebrating character and celebrating children for who they are is critical for building self-esteem. Having a positive self-image helps a child feel happy and capable of maintaining personal relationships as well as encouraging them to succeed and achieve their goals.

“It is not happy people who are grateful, it’s grateful people who are happy”.

Teaching children to give and receive gratitude will release happy hormones which are good for the brain and suppress some of the stress hormones. Gratitude makes us much more resilient and encourages us to live through the stress. Essentially, being grateful leads to happiness.

“In a world full of algorithms and followers, never forget the importance of human connections”.

Human beings need a social collection to thrive, encouraging children to build and maintain positive relationships is great for their mental health and is a critical element to happiness. Children learn, develop, and grow from being around others and having social experiences. 

“It always seems impossible until it’s done”.

It is important to inspire children, staff and parents to pursue the things that they are passionate about. Most of our goals as children and adults come from external input.  The intrinsic motivation to learn about the world around us begins in our early years. This type of motivation can either be encouraged or suppressed by the experiences adults provide for children.

Understanding this science can shift our perspective and can shift our approach to how we interact with others. myHappymind’s programme for nurseries is grounded in the latest science and research about what it takes to create positive wellbeing. 

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About the Author

Marketing Executive at Connect Childcare