April is National Childhood Abuse Prevention Month

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When Sarah picked up her crying baby, her intention was never to hurt him or to make him a statistic. Sadly, according to childhelp.org, over 3 million reports of abuse and neglect are made each year in the US alone.

Child abuse can be prevented and it’s never too early or too late to ponder ways we can prevent it.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Let’s take a moment to consider 5 ways child abuse and neglect can be prevented.

1. Take Care of Yourself. If parents don’t care for themselves and take care of their physical, emotional, social and mental needs, they’ll have a harder time meeting the needs of their children. When yourself love-jug is overflowing, it’s natural for the love to flow over and onto your children. Wake up a few minutes before everyone else so you can get ready for your day. Schedule in time each week where you can focus on your needs. Doing so is essential.

2. Familiarize Yourself with Calming Techniques for Yourself and Your Child. Parents of newborns should learn soothing strategies including the 5S’s – swaddle, suck, shhh, side hold and swing/sway. Parents of toddlers and preschoolers should encourage their children to practice deep breathing exercises. For themselves, deep breathing, meditating, prayer and exercise can all be used to release stress and bring inner peace and tranquility.

3. Ask for Help When You Need It. Put your pride aside and ask for help. Know who is in your Momtourage – the people, places and things in your community that provide and offer support. Compile a list of resources and don’t be afraid to reach out for support.

4. Understand Child Development.  Knowledge is power. Understanding the stages of child development can help reduce frustration while parenting. Knowing what to expect as your child grows can help you better prepare for your parenting journey. Consider reading books on child development. The What to Expect series is a great place to start.

5. Join a Support Group. If you are a new parent, join a support group for new parents. If you’re parenting a child with special needs, join a support group for parents of special needs children. Being connected to those who can share and relate to your daily joys and struggles offers a tremendous net of support.

Child abuse can be prevented. If you suspect abuse or if you feel like you may harm your child, call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD.

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