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Mental Health Matters: May 22


Hello Ellis Families,


I hope you are well. I recently read an article with a reminder that “we still need to look forward to tomorrow”—this really stuck with me. With news of places beginning to reopen, we are starting to have an idea of what to look forward to, but there’s still a lot of mystery of what exactly is on the horizon and that can cause anxiety.

Even still, we do need to be able to look forward to tomorrow. It is hard to plan trips or activities when we don’t know exactly what will be open or in what capacity. But how can you create something to look forward to for both yourself and your family? It doesn’t have to be fancy—it could be scheduling a breakfast-for-dinner night or camping in the living room. Maybe Friday nights are Game or Scavenger Hunt Night. Studies show that having something to look forward to increases our mental health exponentially. Be creative and you might create the best experiences of our children’s lives—simple, but meaningful because of quality time with one another.


Something I am looking forward to is the birth of my son, who will be joining us in the next few weeks. Next week will likely be my last Mental Health Matters blog until I return from maternity leave. I will share some resources that I hope will help as you prepare your child to return to Ellis. I welcome you to join our final evening Caregiver Zoom Chat scheduled for May 28th from 8:15-9:00pm. This is a safe and judgement free space to explore all aspects of the parenting experience.


Thank you and be well,

Jenn

Parenting and Being There for Others During the Time of COVID

This lovely article shares ways we can be there for one another during this time. Often the best way to be there for one another isn’t by giving advice, but instead in hearing the other person and validating their experience.


This article is also about the art of showing up for one another and offers some questions we can ask our peers to help us better understand each another.



Job Searching Resource

Job searching can be challenging in the best of times; but with the future seeming especially uncertain, job searching might be even more stressful. If you are in the job search process and need support to build skills to improve communicating your experience, networking or organization, this free workshop might be for you.

Therapeutic Music Class for Toddlers

Every Tuesday from 3:30-4:00 our partners at the Community Music Center of Boston host a Zoom therapeutic music class for all toddlers from Ellis. In a fun and dynamic class, the children not only have the opportunity to enjoy music, but also develop their social emotional literacy with songs that promote learning about feelings in a structured routine.


Breathing Techniques

From Breathe Like Bear by Kara Wiley, “Some Good Thoughts” is a mindfulness technique you can do with your child, and on your own. Are you or your child missing someone? Is there someone who has been in your mind and heart? Send them some good thoughts.


“Think of someone you love and imagine that person is standing in front of you. Think of something really nice you could say to that person. Say it quietly, in your mind. Now think of a different person. Someone you don’t know as well. Or maybe someone who is having a hard time right now. Imagine that person is standing right in front of you. Think of something really nice you could say to that person. Say it quietly in your mind. Take a long breath in, and let it all the way out”


Hot Tip

What makes your heart feel warm and bubbly? This fizzy heart activity is fun and therapeutic. While you work together, talk with your child about what makes their heart feel happy and full. Show them gratitude for who they are as a person by explaining that “My heart feels full with gratitude for who you are,” and identify something special you see in them.


Fizzy Heart Art Eruptions

  • Mix about 1/4 cup of vinegar with a few drops of food coloring, mixing a few different colors using a muffin tin or small cups to make different color mixtures.

  • Draw and cut out heart shapes from white or light colored paper. Thicker paper will work best for this project.

  • Lay the hearts down on a foil-lined baking sheet (this will help things be a WHOLE lot less messy).

  • Help your child sprinkle baking soda onto each hearts, using their fingers or a spoon to spread it evenly.

  • Drop or sprinkle the vinegar mix on the hearts to watch them fizz! Drip off excess mixture and let the hearts dry.

  • If you don’t have any of these ingredients, you can still make the hearts and color them with markers. Sprinkle with water and watch the colors bleed into something new and beautiful.

A Moment of Zen A video of playful and energetic otters (like many of our toddler friends!). Nothing more, nothing less- your moment of Zen.

Mental Health and Parent Support

  • Fair Foods is a wonderful community resource that helps provide fresh produce to families. With multiple sites throughout the city, Fair Foods has provided many with healthy options for quite some time. In response to COVID they have recently started reopening sites and are adhering to safety measures.

  • 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. Fair Foods:


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