Mental Health Matters: May 18
Hello Ellis Families,
I hope you are well. Early into our COVID closure I wrote that self-care will look different for everyone. At that point, we were just a few weeks into the world changing and self-care was already becoming a challenge for many. Now, weeks later, self-care may be a bigger challenge than ever before.
Taking care of our own mental health is as vital to the children in our lives as it is to ourselves. Children may need your time more than ever. They are going through their own emotional process and trying to make sense of a changing world— one which is hard even for adults to understand. Taking care of yourself increases your capacity to be present for your child. How can we do this?
Stay in tune with your body: sometimes it’s easy to let go of basic care. Ensure you are eating and hydrating; these basic acts of nourishing yourself are about more than just sustenance. You’re taking time to demonstrate to yourself that your basic needs matter, too. Notice where you’re feeling tension in your body. Take a few minutes to stretch with your kiddo to model a healthy coping skill for them.
I warmly welcome you to join our evening Caregiver Zoom Chat scheduled for May 21st from 8:15-9:00pm. Our next Zoom will include some ideas for self-care as well as a space to explore both successes and challenges faced with parenting. This is a safe and judgement free space to share any and all aspects of the parenting experience.
Thank you and be well,
Self-Care During the Time of COVID
Janet Lansbury discusses the importance of self care not only for yourself, but also for your children. She writes that self-care isn’t just taking a bubble bath or a run, “rather, it is a consistent consideration of our own personal needs and boundaries. This recognition will affect the way we structure our home environment and, most importantly, the way we respond to our children moment to moment.”
Sesame Street continues to absolutely nail it with their resources for children and parents, too. This lovely article discusses how to support our children as closures continue, and also the importance of being generous and forgiving towards yourself during this time.
Therapeutic Music Class for Toddlers
I am thrilled to announce we have a new partnership with The Community Music Center of Boston (CMCB) and their music therapy program. Every Tuesday from 3:30-4:00pm, we will host a therapeutic Zoom music class for all Ellis toddlers. Through a fun and dynamic class, the children not only get to enjoy music, but also begin to develop their social emotional literacy through songs that promote learning about feelings and also following routine and structure.
Children’s Mental Health Story Times
Our partners at Vital Villages are offering a wonderful interactive children's story time on May 19th and 26th. As a part of their campaign around Mental Health Awareness month, these story-time sessions will bring families together to focus on a story and activity that promotessocial emotional learning. The stories and activities are curated for children ages 3-8, however younger and older siblings are encouraged to join.
This is a fun one for your child as it helps get out some energy in a positive and healthy way.
• Have your child sit on their feet in a kneeling position, hands making claws on their knees.
• Have them inhale deeply, then have them stick out their tongue really far and make an “aaagggghhhh” sound. Not quite a roar, more like their clearing their throat and trying to roar (kind of like baby Simba, from The Lion King!)
• You can even have your child transition to a high kneeling pose while they exhale for more dramatic effect.
• Repeat a few times!
“Calm Down Jars” are a great way to help your child learn about regulating their emotions. Help them envision the water is their mind and the glitter is their emotions, feelings and body sensations. Shake the bottle, explaining that when our feelings get overwhelming, the bottle gets cloudy. As the glitter starts to settle, take deep breathes with them. Help them focus on the glitter and the settling process it is going through; their thoughts and feelings are still there as the glitter settles, but their mind is now clearer. Using this visual can help them begin to understand the connection in taking deep breathes to help regulate emotions and also provides language for their experiences. Learn how to make one of your own.
This activity can be partnered with my read aloud of Color Monster: A Story About Feelings by Anna Llenas. Color Monster is a beautiful story that helps children learn about naming their feelings and how to organize their emotions. My read aloud also includes more activities you can do with your child.
A Moment of Zen
Simply a video of a German Shepard playing with baby ducks in a pool. Nothing more, nothing less- your moment of Zen.
Mental Health and Parent Support
Breastfeeding Warmline: Early post-partum? Breastfeeding? Pregnant? The Breastfeeding Warmline is live and our Breastfeeding Counselors are available every day to help. Talk to one of our trained and experienced peer counselors today. Call 857-301-8259 or Email.
Project Bread: Managing mental health is that much harder when you are unable to meet your basic needs. If you are experiencing food insecurity please contact Project Bread for assistance.
FoodSource Hotline counselors refer callers to food resources in their community as well as provides information about school meals, summer meal sites for kids, elder meals programs, and SNAP. Call: 1-800-645-8333 or TTY 1-800-377-1292, Open Mon-Fri 8am-7pm, Saturday 10am-2pm.
Parental Stress Line: 800-632-8188. Counselors are there to listen to your concerns and problem-solve with you. 24/7, free and confidential.
Boston Emergency Services Team (BEST Team): 800-981-4357. A mental health emergency hotline for crisis evaluation and treatment if your child has become a danger to themselves or others in the home.