Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week - May 2020

Help spread mental health awareness and develop family engagement with your community. 

As today’s crisis is putting stress on people everywhere and families are taking the lead with their children’s learning, the family connection component for the annual Children’s Mental Health Awareness Campaign is more relevant than ever. Mental health impacts how we think, feel, and act, including how a child: feels about himself/herself, relates to other children and adults and handles change, stress and other life situations.

Please join the Howard County Office of Children and Families' campaign and participate in five days of engaging activities with your preschool child. Now is a great time to learn social emotional skills in fun ways that can assist in their healthy development. Sign up for free, here

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week is May 4-8, 2020

Now in its fifth year, we encourage more people to get involved and spread the word for this year’s campaign, Boosting Social Connections While Physically Distancing. We are hoping that you can still be a conduit to connecting the information to your family populations. Your participation in the campaign encourages a stigma free environment which can empower families to feel comfortable accessing help they may need now and in the future. Early awareness highlights the importance of caring for every child’s mental health and reinforces that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development.   

Our themes for this year: Positive Thinking/ Optimism, Building Social Connections at Home/ Friendship Skills, Mindfulness, Color Your World with Kindness, and The Power of Play. 

To find additional ideas, visit the May Mental Health Activity Calendar. Downloadable resources for mental health information can be found at Children’s Mental Health Matters or to find specific COVID- 19 Coping Resources.  

If you have questions or need assistance to find local information, call Howard County’s Free Information and Referral CARE Line at 410-313-2273 or email children@howardcountymd.gov 

 

DAY 1 – Positive Thinking 

We have all heard the saying, look on the bright side. But did you know our brains are hardwired to focus on the negative? With some extra effort we can change our way of thinking. Positive thinking is a powerful tool that can improve your health, help you manage stress, overcome challenges, and make better choices. The idea is that by changing our way of thinking, we can control our emotions and our actions.  

As parents, there’s plenty we can do to help our children develop a more positive attitude about themselves and their world!Listen to this read aloud of Pete And His Magic Sunglasses with your child and then engage them in the following activities.  

  1. Discuss the emotions that Pete and his friends experienced throughout the story: grumpy, sad, mad, and frustrated. Ask your child to think of times that they felt this way- share your experience too!  
  1. Ask your child what happened when Pete put on his magic sunglasses and help them understand the power of positive thinking. Have your child create their own pair of magic sunglasses – Click here for step by step instructions and a free downloadable template.  
  1. Visit the Pete the Cat website to find additional activities

As Owl says, “Remember to look for the good in every day.” 

Additional Resources for Parents:   

Watch this short TED Talk to understand more about Positive Thinking and leave with A Simple Trick to Improve Positive Thinking.  

Start your day off on a positive note with these 101 Positive Affirmations for Kids

 

DAY 2 – Building Friendship Skills at Home 

Children start to make friends and build relationships with their peers in preschool. This is also the age when they start to learn friendship skills, such as sharing and taking turns.  
 
With recent school closures and social distancing, it is increasingly difficult for children to connect with others and build appropriate social skills. So how