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The home of evidence-based resources on all aspects of parenting, education and family life

Schools that are part of our Tooled Up Education community can provide their parents and teachers with access to Dr Weston’s exclusive resources, covering areas such as aspiration, resilience, mental health and behaviour.

As a member of the Tooled Up community you will have access to a whole host of evidence-based resources, which will enable you to support your children or students in a way that makes their lives and educational journeys both easier and more enjoyable. 

Dr Weston's Wednesday Wisdom

In an ever increasingly busy and demanding world, Wednesday Wisdom provides a reflective 2 minute read every week that readers constantly tell us they look forward to. Full of topical and relatable experiences that help provide reflection, motivation and support in achieving a balanced family life.

Over the years, thousands of people have benefitted from and continue to enjoy the parenting and educational talks from Dr Kathy Weston at Tooled up Education and have subscribed to Wednesday Wisdom. Join them now for free and receive your own weekly digest of inspiring, engaging and mindful parenting directly from Dr Weston herself.

“I just wanted to say how grateful I am to read your Wednesday Wisdom email. Perfect size for the time I have to engage and reflect and think about the topics you touch on. It helps me to evaluate my parenting and take a step back to look at scenarios that play out.”

Parent – October 2020

Research in Action

We send our children to school, trust in teachers to deliver high quality teaching, and hope that they will do well, but do we ever think about the science behind learning?

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Parenting Question of the Week

Our children’s first ever nanny stayed with us for almost four years before leaving us after the birth of her second child. Since then, we have employed four nannies, each one staying with us for short periods. We have now moved country and I am worried about introducing yet another person to the kids. What is the best way to handle this? 

Thank you for submitting your question. I think that it’s important to try to make sense of what has occurred chronologically and to think through the emotions attached to each change. It might be useful to reflect with your partner about how you felt when ‘nanny number one’ had to leave. I detect (though could be wrong) that your family considered this woman to be part of the family and that her loss may have been keenly felt.

Our Promise: We will answer all questions, and, whilst we may share your question and answer to help others, we will never declare who asked it.

Researcher of the Month

Dr Ola Demkowicz, Lecturer in Psychology of Education, University of Manchester

University
The University of Manchester

Research Interests
Dr Demkowicz focuses on adolescent mental health, particularly risk and resilience processes.

Link to Article

From early adolescence, girls and women report higher rates of emotional symptoms, such as low mood, anxiety and depression, when compared to boys and men. Research also indicates a significant increase in the reporting of emotional symptoms and disorders among teen girls in recent years, both in the UK and in other Western and non-Western countries. The study that we’ve selected to highlight this month is led by Dr Ola Demkowicz and investigates risk factors and cumulative risk exposure in relation to emotional symptoms in 8327 girls, aged 11-12, across 100 English educational settings. It highlights the need for identification and targeted mental health intervention for those at greater risk or with emergent symptoms.

We know that girls and women are twice as likely to report depressive symptoms and disorders from mid-adolescence compared to boys and men, and that they are also more likely to experience anxiety. Despite the trend of apparently worsening mental health for teen girls, few previous studies have investigated risk factors for emotional symptoms in early adolescence, and even fewer focus specifically on girls, despite their apparent vulnerability. Dr Demkowicz and her co-authors assessed eight candidate risk factors, which each had some theoretical or empirical association with emotional symptoms. 

They found four broad categories of experience to have a statistically significant relationship with emotional symptoms; low academic attainment, having special educational needs, a low family income and having caregiving responsibilities, beyond those normally expected of teenagers. Cumulatively, more risk factors might lead to overwhelming stress levels which could impact on mental health outcomes. 

Implications

Implications for parents – It’s important to remember that young people’s daily experiences can differ greatly and the presence of risk factors will not necessarily translate into difficulties, though it does mean that they are more likely. There are some protective factors (positive personal relationships, a sense of school belonging, high self-esteem and good quality sleep) that may help to mitigate stressors and lessen the impact of particular adversities or circumstances. Conversations with young people about effective coping mechanisms, encouraging them to consider what things make them feel good and reflecting together on what aspects of their lives might benefit from improvement, is important.

Implications for schools – Schools should aim to understand some of the potential vulnerabilities for emotional symptoms and have an awareness of what is happening in young people’s lives. Cultivating positive, trusting relationships between students and staff, where students feel able to open up about their home life, is extremely beneficial. The Wellbeing Measurement Framework can also help schools to identify emergent symptoms. Further information on using the Wellbeing Measurement Framework in schools can be found in this blog. Any interventions should be sensitive to individual circumstances. 

Tooled Up News

Children’s mental health in the post-pandemic world

Holidays are well and truly back, the sun is shining, school closures feel like a distant memory and, despite the high numbers of infections, Covid-19 no longer dominates either the headlines or our everyday conversations. News and discussions about current affairs are now rightly focused on the horrifying and urgent situation in Ukraine. However, as we embark on this post-pandemic period, researchers are becoming increasingly aware of the long-term impact that the pandemic has had on the mental health of our children. 

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Ten Evidence-Based Tips for Parents on #SaferInternetDay

Over the past few years, I have interviewed some of the most eminent researchers, criminologists and experts on digital risks and vulnerabilities and asked them what parents need to do to keep their children safe online. Here are 10 tips that I have derived from this work, which schools should emphasise in

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