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Mental Health Matters: May 1


Hello Ellis Families,


May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it's possible we are possibly more acutely aware of the importance of taking care of our mental health than ever.


I have always tried to teach kids is that no feelings are bad. Some feelings might be uncomfortable or harder to manage, but they aren’t bad—they serve a function. Ultimately, it’s about how we react to these feelings. Right now we are in abnormal times and some feelings may feel abnormal, but realistically they make sense given these difficult times.


So, be gentle with yourselves and your children. If you observe changes in their behaviors or in your own reactions that surprise or confuse you, please know there are resources to support mental health. Mental health matters and is just as important as our physical health. In fact, it’s part of our physical health.

I warmly welcome you to our evening Caregiver Zoom Chat scheduled for Thursday, May 7th from 8:15pm-9:00pm. I will share activities to help support your child’s self-care and mental health, as well as your own. If you are unable to join, feel free to reach out to me directly via email.


Thank you and be well,

Jenn




The Importance of Play

Children can tell us a lot through their play, and sometimes it’s just as good for adults to let go of the logical and lean into the magical. This article discusses the importance of giving children independence and space to share their expertise as playmakers, while also building connections with them.

The article does talk about limiting screen time—this is understandable, however I want to recognize again that these are abnormal times and remind you to be gentle with yourself with these limits. If you child is watching more television than before, that is OKAY.


In this video, learn a technique to help your child begin to better self-regulate and help build their mind-body connection. You can take the opportunity to tap into your own silliness and sense of play while helping them build this skill.


(Check out lunarbaboon for more cartoons around perspective and parenting that are really loving, forgiving and funny.)


Hot Tip

One positive side effect of the past few months has been an increased love and appreciation for fresh air! However, Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate and sometimes it is much colder and much rainier than we might like. For some of us, the ability to go outside safely is a luxury. So, what do we do when we can’t go outside? We can bring the outside in by building together.

Gather materials from around your home (cardboard boxes, blocks, LEGOs, or any building materials available) and help your child to design their own neighborhood! This article shares some templates for making your own skyscrapers and homes out of paper, which the kids can decorate. What kind of neighborhood will they create? Will it be like the one you live in or will it have a more magical nature? Build together to see!


A Moment of Zen

Enjoy this video of a red panda eating. Nothing more, nothing less- your moment of Zen :)


Mental Health and Parent Support

  • 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 8a-7p, 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.

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