Let’s Talk About It! How to Get Our Kids Talking
Student welfare at Yew Chung International School of Beijing is an important part of our holistic education and this year a number of new initiatives have been introduced to promote wellbeing. Our school counsellor, Rachel George, discusses the “Let’s Talk About It” project, and offers some advice to parents on getting their children talking.
You may have seen the “Let’s Talk About It” posters around school. This is an important new initiative launched this year. Originally, “Let’s Talk About It” was born out of our child protection training: the best thing we can do to keep ourselves, our peers and our children safe is to talk. We led a number of assemblies on the importance of speaking up and came up with the line, “Let’s Talk About It”, which is now visible everywhere in school.
As part of this initiative, we launched a “Let’s Talk About It” section on the school portal. Students are now able to login to the portal and have a direct link to my inbox. They can send me questions via the portal and I can respond. For those students who might be shy to approach me in person, this is a great way to get talking.
In continuation of the “Let’s Talk About It” programme around school, Lower Secondary are currently working on the “YOU ARE OK” G100 project and last week, we launched the Secondary Peer Mentoring Scheme.
Mentees are matched with a student mentor of the same gender from two year levels above them. We are now training our mentors on the kinds of activities they can do with their mentee. This includes eating lunch together, hanging out, assisting with homework, assisting them with Microsoft Teams, and reading together. We are encouraging students to submit a log to their teachers so that we can make sure that momentum is kept up.
In doing all of these activities, I hope that we can really start to open up dialogue around school. I want YCIS Beijing to feel like a supportive, trustworthy family of students and staff who are here to listen and know how to offer support.
School plays an important role in wellbeing and mental health, but so does home. As a parent, there are things you can do to support your child who may have something on their mind:
- Start the conversation. If you think your child seems worried or down, don’t expect them to open up first. Sit down and ask them if there is something on their mind.
- Lead by example. If you want your child to open up to you, you need to show them that you can be open too. Talk about your own worries and feelings. This will help create a trusting dialogue.
- Don’t complete their sentences. Especially with younger children, it’s tempting to speak for them when they’re struggling to find the words. But it’s really important to give them time and show patience while they process their thoughts and what they’re trying to say.
- Pick the right time. Choose an opportune moment to speak to your child. If they have something to tell you, they need a quiet space without fear of interruption.