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Supporting Children with Loneliness

Loneliness

Supporting children with loneliness 

 

Did you know that 10% of children (aged five and over) can be diagnosed with a mental health problem? Mental health problems can affect anyone, but if left untreated, they can have a devastating impact on kids’ ability to learn, grow and thrive.  

Mental health awareness week is taking place on the 9th-15th of May 2022. This year’s mental health theme focuses on ‘loneliness.’ We’ve created some ideas to help teachers support children with loneliness in the classroom. 

 

As it’s now Mental Health Awareness Week, we are reminded of the impact of low social connections on people’s health and well-being. We want to highlight the importance of creating supportive environments for children in school. Starting good friendships can be a vital factor in improving how they feel about themselves, as well as ensuring that they aren’t lonely. This is particularly important as children spend more time at school than in any other social environment.  

 

How to prevent child loneliness in school: 

 

Encourage children to read books with their friends in the classroom: 

Reading can help children give a sense of expression, feeling, thoughts and emotions. It also helps them develop their imagination and creativity. 

Encourage pupils to read books with their friends in the classroom or even play social speaking games. This will encourage them to interact with each other and build relationships with their peers. They can discuss what they have read together, share their opinions, and ask questions from each other. This will help them feel more connected with others in their class and make new friends who share the same interests. This will prevent loneliness from happening in the classroom.

 

Encourage children to join clubs at school: 

Give children the opportunity to join clubs at school. You can run clubs during lunchtime hours or after school. Provide an assortment of activities that the children can take part in such as sports, dance, arts & crafts, or even drama.

Children won’t show you if they are feeling lonely, scared or don’t have any friends. It’s always important to check in with them and ask them how they feel. Offering after school clubs will give them an opportunity to socialise with other children and build friendships. This will help children to be active and ensure that they don’t feel left out. 

Put a heart logo on the classroom wall: 

Put a heart logo on the wall to show the importance of mental health and why it matters. Did you know 1 in 6 children can suffer from depression? Child depression is real and can affect pupils in school, no matter how old they are. 

Children are often more perceptive than we give them credit for. They may notice subtle changes in their behaviour or moods or feel lonely or sad themselves.  

Incorporating heart symbols throughout the school, such as in PE lessons or in assemblies, will show a sense of care in children. It will let them know that they are not alone and that the school is supporting them.  

Create opportunities in the classroom 

Encourage children to work together in the classroom by involving them in activities such as playing bingo, puzzles or Pictionary. When kids collaborate in group activities, they get more out of their learning experience and feel more connected as a class. You can do this by offering children to sit next to their friends, allowing them to discuss and share ideas. 

Offer them guidance and support: 

Ensure every child at school has someone who can support them outside school hours by being available to them when needed (such as after school or during lunch breaks). This means having someone who can provide emotional support when needed. It can be as simple as someone who will just listen. Often kids struggle to talk about what happened or what they are going through, but it’s important to ask and listen.  

Create a support system in classrooms that will help kids perform better with their homework, such as helping them understand a concept they’re having difficulty grasping. 

 

Often it can be very hard for children to be more social, especially in the early years of their childhood journey. Therefore, it is important to understand mental health in children. Mental health can lead to many factors causing pupils to become isolated from their friends and social isolation is one of the common factors in mental health.  

Therefore, it is important to know what social isolation is and make sure children’s well-being is a top priority in their learning.  

Most importantly, teachers’ mental health matters too. Make sure you spend time on your own mental health. To help you with this, have a read of our ‘A guide to: Teacher wellbeing and mental health’.  

 

<a href="https://blog.hope-education.co.uk/author/hasibur-rahman/" target="_self">Hasibur Rahman</a>

Hasibur Rahman

Hope Education writer

9 May 2022

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