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Connecting, moving, nourishing and appreciation key to overall health and well-being for kiwi children and their families

Connecting with each other, moving each day, nourishing your body and appreciating yourself and others are key rituals Kiwi families from over 150 schools around the country have incorporated into their daily routines to combat rising mental health issues amongst 9-12 year old children. Taking action is more important than ever, considering that six out of ten children in a recent survey said they have been bulled, and one in five said they are sad or stressed most of the time.

The daily rituals are an initiative of Life Education Trust with the support of Cigna New Zealand, who partnered to deliver the Small Changes Whānau Challenge.

The challenge was developed in response to Life Education Trust’s survey of children aged 9-12 across the country. While the survey showed bullying is unfortunately common, and that sadness and stress are emerging challenges for kids, the survey also revealed 90 percent of children either ‘loved’ or ‘liked’ spending time with their whānau.

Life Education Trust and Cigna New Zealand together distributed almost 14,000 Small Changes activity packs to families. The packs supported classroom learning and encouraged families to use the interactive Small Changes website to browse lots of family activity ideas to take time together to focus on their health and wellbeing.

A teacher from Taranaki’s Oakura Primary School said the school gave out the pack as homework and received lots of positive comments from the students. “We asked our students to choose activities to take part in at home with their family and discuss other ways they could improve their health and wellbeing, they then shared their ideas in class. It was a great resource.”

Vince Warnock, Chief Marketing Officer for Cigna New Zealand, says Cigna is pleased to see so many families across the country took part in the challenge and made positive changes to their day-to-day lives.

“Taking care of New Zealanders is at the heart of what we do here at Cigna and we are so proud to have partnered with Life Education Trust on such a meaningful campaign that we hope will have a lasting impact on their whole person health.”

Kate Mounter and her family from Kaikohe in Northland were the lucky winners of the $2,500 travel voucher that was offered as a prize to encourage families to register online and take part in the challenge.

Kate said that like many parents, she often worried she wasn’t doing enough ‘fun stuff’ with her boys. Kate was referred to the Small Changes website by their school. The family then set a goal to take part in one challenge per week.

“I put the challenge calendar on our fridge, so it was visible for us all to see, plus the stickers made the boys curious about it, so they were all over it!” said Kate.

Kate said the challenges brought about some great discussions on topics they hadn’t really broached before - such as internet safety. “The whole experience has really made me see that it doesn’t matter what you do as a family, it really is just about spending the time together.”

“Our boys have never travelled further south than Auckland, so we are looking forward to using our amazing prize to show them more of our incredible country,” Kate said.