” My name is Emma Vance, and I have been a Relax Kids coach since 2017. I live in Dunbar (Sunny Dunny) just outside Edinburgh, on the East Coast of Scotland.
The reason that I began my Relax Kids journey was due to my concern about the lack of mental health support and provision for teenagers. My job at the time, involved working with teenagers who needed that extra bit of support to realise their potential, remove barriers in their life and gain a positive destination. I was part of a team that delivered employment and educational programmes for teenagers and at one point, was the team leader of Princes Trust Team programmes. I began to become quite concerned as to the number of young people presenting with Mental Health issues who had to wait months to seen by Mental Health professionals to get support. I decided I wanted to do something practical that could help and felt that Relax Kids could be a perfect solution.
I was quite fortunate in that my children’s Primary school head teacher (immediately) after I completed my training thought that Relax Kids would be a great programme to bring into her school and secured funding. We were then able to secure funds for a full year group of 120 kids for an entire year and I have not looked back. As someone who has worked largely with primary-aged kids, I believe that early intervention is crucial. I also have been fortunate enough to deliver Just Relax workshops for adults in several settings; as part of staff development, teachers on their university teaching courses, parents’ workshops, etc. I have experience of working with social work, nurseries, after-school clubs, primary schools, beavers, brownies, and guides. I have also delivered a Relax Kids birthday party. I have also delivered Summer Relax Kids programmes on the beach, in forests, and even in a large Yurt surrounded by Alpacas. I absolutely love the variety it offers and the fact that everyone can benefit from Relax Kids, no matter what their age.
Lockdown meant a change in the way I worked, and very quickly went online with some of the schools with which I was working. I was doubtful about online delivery at the start, but soon realised that it worked much better that I expected and still made an impact, I was really pleased that children could still benefit from Relax Kids online.
I currently work on various contracts with different primary schools delivering Relax Kids on a weekly basis. I was lucky enough to gain funding to work with two young carer groups within my local school. I have worked in partnership with Active Schools since 2017, delivering 6-week blocks to primary aged children 4 times a year.
I love the Relax Kids programme as it is wonderful to see how the techniques can really benefit children. I have had so many children telling me how much the 5-finger breathing exercise has helped them get to sleep, or how much they love getting a massage at bedtime. I think it’s a win when you can also get parents to come along to a session, so that they in turn learn to how to use the techniques at home.
I believe Relax Kids has improved me as a parent, and I often employ the strategies with my own kids. Another success came when my child injured their ankle and said, “If I didn’t know Relax Kids breathing techniques, I couldn’t have coped with the pain” while lying in A&E. it made me realise how crucial it is for our kids to understand how their breath may actually benefit them in a variety of circumstances. I also think the support and help we get from Relax Kids HQ is second to none. I really benefit from the Facebook groups for ideas and coming from a training background, I think it is truly amazing to see all the training materials and resources we get as part of our licence.
I think my most special moment would have been delivering the Relax Kids session on a local beach in partnership with a couple of local organisations. It was just a perfect setting, with the waves breaking in the background. It even started raining, but none of the children complained because of how much they enjoyed the benefits of having the session on the beach.”