Children’s Mental Health Week: How to support your students’ personal growth
Children’s Mental Health Week takes place this year from 7-13 February. The theme of this week is ‘Growing Together’; encouraging children to reflect on how they’ve grown, and how they can support others to grow.
Encouraging young people to reflect on how they’ve grown is a key part of our coaching programmes. Often, students may not realise the progress they’ve made in their lives; whether that’s in the classroom, in their hobbies, or their wellbeing. But by regularly taking time to reflect on their growth, students can become more self-aware, boost their wellbeing, and achieve their goals.
Below, we explore some ways in which you can explore students’ personal growth and wellbeing in your classroom.
1) Grow your students’ resilience
Growth isn’t always a straightforward or easy process. We may often experience setbacks or obstacles, or struggle to meet our goals. But it’s by working through difficult challenges that we grow the most!
Resilience is one of the four key skills we encourage our students to develop at Yes Futures. Why? Because resilience is key to overcoming challenges and uncertainty. Research shows that with increased resilience and wellbeing, young people are more likely to achieve academically and have a successful future (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2017).
Encourage your students to think of a situation that didn’t go as they hoped. How did they overcome these challenges? What did they learn from this experience? Our free Growth Tree worksheet is designed to support students with this reflection.
2) Break down future goals
Some of your students may already have a clear idea of what they want to achieve in the future. But a recent survey found that 41% of young people believe their future goals are now "impossible to achieve" as a result of the pandemic, rising to 50% of young people from low-income backgrounds (Censuswide, 2021).
In our coaching programmes, we support students to break their future goals down into smaller, manageable steps. By doing so, students can identify what skills they may need to grow to achieve their goals, and make their goals more attainable.
Our free journey planner resource is a visual way for students to plan the steps needed to achieve their goals and track their personal growth.
3) Reflect on their strengths
Having an awareness of their strengths is crucial to students’ personal growth. But often, it can be difficult for students – especially those who are less confident – to identify their strengths.
Put students in pairs and ask them to write down 3-5 strengths that they think the other person has: if possible, using specific examples of when they’ve demonstrated this strength. Hearing what other people think their strengths are can really boost students’ confidence, while improving their mindset and self-awareness.
Ask students to display this list of strengths somewhere where they will frequently see it, such as their planner, to give them a ‘strengths toolbox’ that they can regularly look back on.
4) Support your students to develop a growth mindset
People with a growth mindset believe that their talents and skills can be developed through hard work, strategies and help from others. Goal setting is a great way to instil a growth mindset in your students, teaching them the value of persistence, hard work, and asking for help when needed.
Ask your students to write down one thing they’d like to improve in this term. This could be related to a specific subject, or something outside of school. Then ask them to make this a SMART goal: what exactly will they do to meet this goal? How will they know when this goal has been met?
Set aside 10 minutes at the end of each week for students to reflect on how they’re progressing towards their goals. If they haven’t made any progress, ask them: what could you do differently? How could you get help? Is there anything you want to change about your goal?
By trying new strategies, students will learn to not give up if they don’t achieve their goals immediately, thereby increasing their resilience.
5) Promote wellbeing in your classroom
Prioritising our wellbeing is essential to our emotional growth. While there are steps that we can all take to prioritise our wellbeing, what works for one person may not work for someone else.
Ask your students to think of five activities that make them truly happy, or help them to feel relaxed. How often are they taking part in these activities? Could they build in more time for them in their week?
If your students are struggling to identify five things, our free wellbeing calendar and posters may provide them with some inspiration!
Download our FREE Children’s Mental Health Week resources to help your students to reflect on their growth and promote wellbeing within your classroom.