Tools & Resources

Action Ideas

Concrete steps you can take right now – at home, in school, and in the community – to being making change and supporting well-being in the middle years.

  • Let kids set the stage for imaginative play and allow yourself to dive in. Giving children your time and undivided attention, and helping them explore their creativity helps remind them that they matter, and helps you practice taking on their perspective.
    Connectedness
  • Advocate for all programs and spaces to be movement-friendly - children weren't built to sit all day! Offer standing activity stations, introduce movement breaks, and champion the value of vigorous exercise every day. Movement is vital for health and additionally promotes a good night's sleep.
    Health & Well-Being
  • Create a classroom or school-wide "constitution" with students that expresses the values and practices they feel are vital to a healthy school environment, and reference this constitution regularly to foster community and collaborative problem-solving.
    School Experiences
  • Create a consistent way to check in with each student on a regular basis. For example, spend 2-minutes per day for 10 days connecting one-on-one.
    Connectedness
  • Help children participate in the process of creating group agreements in the classroom or in after-school settings, allowing them a say in how the activities are run. This will help teach them to recognize the needs of others while simultaneously asserting their own.
    Social-Emotional
  • Create and Promote programs in your community that emphasize mentorship - Big Brothers/Sisters, the YMCA/YWCA, and local cultural organizations are often great examples. These relationships of learning and trust can be a vital protective factor throughout childhood and adolescence.
    Connectedness
  • Ask: "What are three things adults at school do to show that they respect and believe in you? What do you wish they would do?"
    Connectedness
  • Ask children to describe experiences at school when they feel like they belong and which help support their well-being. See what matters most from their perspective.
    School Experiences
  • Invite children to share their feelings without offering judgement or unsolicited advice. Be fully present as a listener to show that you care and value their thoughts.
    Social-Emotional
  • Organize volunteers to help walk students from school to their after-school activities, libraries, or parks to remove the need for parental transportation. These walks also contribute to a child's daily physical activity and can even be used to build meaningful relationships with the adults who volunteer.
    After-School Time
  • Teachers: Invite students to share their after-school experiences with classmates, and help integrate their interests and new skills into classroom learning. Highlight the value of after-school activities and help children express their out-of-school identity at the same time.
    After-School Time
  • Promise to greet kids every day as they enter your class or program space. You'll be able to notice how they are feeling as they enter, while simultaneously reinforcing your connection to them.
    Connectedness
  • Ask children if they feel a sense of belonging in any of their after-school pursuits. If they don't, explore with them what they need for a meaningful experience.
    After-School Time
  • Create opportunities for families, teachers, and after-school providers to discuss social-emotional learning strategies and support this work in all contexts.
    Social-Emotional
  • Share your school's strategies to foster a positive climate with families and after-school providers so they can reinforce these messages and practices throughout a child's day. Create an open channel for families and community members to share any feedback on school climate or instances of bullying with schools.
    School Experiences
  • Share what children are saying about after-school activities with school staff and after-school program staff together. Learn how each group can better support the transition from school to after-school and help overcome barriers to participation.
    After-School Time
  • Model warmth when kids are upset, rather than trying to impose control. Warmth and caring will help calm the child and allow them to practice self-regulation and problem-solving.
    Social-Emotional
  • Check in with kids regularly to find out how they feel about their own health. Remind them that this includes not just physical health, but mental/emotional/social health as well.
    Health & Well-Being
  • Model gratitude for children by thanking those that help you and regularly describing the things you are thankful for in life.
    Social-Emotional
  • Have children start keeping a daily health journal to collect their own reflections on their health and happiness. Brainstorm ideas to stay healthy in school, after-school, and at home.
    Health & Well-Being
  • Families - create a set bedtime routine with regular sleep/wake times for everyone! Help prepare for bed with quiet activities like baths, stretching, reading, or listening to music. Power down screens and stop homework 2 hours before bed to let kids unwind.
    Health & Well-Being
  • Be a Champion for stress-relief! Encourage children and adults to incorporate stress-management techniques, like mindfulness, meditation, and yoga, into daily routines.
    Social-Emotional

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