Schools out for Summer!
Most kids eagerly anticipate the start of the long summer holidays, a whole 6 weeks without school, uniform, homework and teachers! But for some, it’s a time when life just implodes! One of the key messages we give young people about staying emotionally well is not to isolate themselves away and connect with others , but a long 6-week period without contact at school with friends and regular support networks can make socialising and connecting difficult; especially for those living in small rural villages.
We also advocate the benefits of a healthy diet to improve wellbeing but recent research shows that ‘one in eight children don’t get enough to eat during the holidays with many returning to school noticeably thinner according to their teachers’In fact a recent article in The Guardian revealed that ‘up to 3 million children risk going hungry during the school holidays, more than 1 million children who receive free school meals during term time and 2 million more with working parents still in poverty, are at risk of hunger over the summer’We know the impact of hunger and diet on physical health but it’s just as important for emotional wellbeing. Evidence suggests that improving your diet may help to ‘improve your mood, give you more energy and help you think more clearly’But if you are not getting enough food and you are hungry, the quality of what you are eating becomes unimportant.
We need to recognise just how tricky the summer holidays can be for young people. As teachers, social workers and those working with vulnerable children we know that the safeguarding risks increase during long holidays but do we release just how difficult they can be for a wide range of kids not necessarily viewed as ‘vulnerable’.
Young people need to be made aware of all the support services available when schools out; various areas offer support via Text using platforms such as Chat Health, or by telephone like ChildLine. Young People need to know what is out there!
Watch out for our next blog discussing the importance of sleep on wellbeing!
DOH – Five ways to mental wellbeing – 10/2008
www.mind.org.uk- Food and Mood 12/2017