April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Buckner wants to assure every child lives in a safe and nurturing home.
The CDC reports that family stress is among the risk factors for children to suffer abuse and neglect.
According to SAGE Journals, “The risk of child maltreatment is heightened during the pandemic due to multiple COVID-19 related stressors, such as physical and mental health concerns, economic stress, challenges in homeschooling, marital conflicts and intimate personal violence, and intensified child–parent relationships.”
It’s no secret that parenting is a tough job - maybe the toughest. The COVID-19 pandemic has added all kinds of additional challenges to parenting. When parents are stressed, their children are at an increased risk of abuse or neglect. So, what can parents do to help them and their children? Prioritize mental health.
What does parental mental health look like?
- Take a walk. Take a break from your work, child’s school and other responsibilities to stroll around the neighborhood. This habit not only benefits your physical health, but studies show it can reduce anxiety, depression and stress levels. You don’t have to walk miles; a simple 10-to-15-minute walk can help you relax and clear your mind.
- Eat well. Drink well. Sleep well. This is so basic to our well-being, but much easier said than done. You don’t need us to tell you how to do these three things but challenge you to commit to doing all three and see if you don’t feel better.
- Have adult conversations. Sometimes it’s as simple as having another adult to talk to about the stress you are feeling. It can be especially helpful if those adults are also parents and dealing with the same stressors you are.
- Get outside. Step outside and take a deep breath. Let fresh air fill your lungs and some sunshine hit your skin. Try to incorporate a little outside time (with kids or without kids) into your daily routine.
As a parent, it might seem selfish to take a moment to yourself when there is so much to be done but doing so might benefit your children more than you know.
Take care of yourself. Prioritize your mental health. You and your children deserve it.