50 Key Messages – Parents Need Good Social Networks

Connecting with other parents

Connecting with parents similar to your self can be a great support.

Here are some things you can do to connect with people and groups in your community:

Parents of children aged birth to 3 years:

  • See if you have a local Parent and Toddler group and get involved if there is one. You can get more information from your local county childcare committee. Here are details from Parent Hub Donegal’s services page of the Parent & Toddler groups in Donegal http://parenthubdonegal.ie/services/job-listings/?search_keywords=parent+and+toddler&search_region=0&search_categories%5B%5D=
  • Go to the local park with your child or places where families walk and play – you might meet someone you know. It is always easier to get to know other parents through children. Children will naturally play with other children so, this could be an opportunity to mix with other parents.
  • Visit your local library – there are often activities of interest to parents and children. Very often, your local library will run activities for children and parents, why not take time out to visit your local library, you might be pleasantly surprised by what you find there.
  • Enrol your child in day care. Again, the local County Childcare Committee will be able to point you in the right direction in terms of early years services, what is available and how much it will cost. Many Early Years services have activities that are geared for parents, so why not have a chat with the manager and see what is available. Some Early Years services have Facebook pages, this might also be a way to engage with other parents.

Parents of children going to primary school:

Get involved in your local National School Parents’ Council or other parent groups. Schools are always looking for parents to support the school, so why not have a chat with the school principal about what is available and where you can link in.

Baby Massage

Some communities have baby massage sessions available and this can be a good way to meet parents in your area.

Touch is the newborn’s first language – it is their other prime means of communication and plays an essential role in the forming of early parent-child relationships. Massaging your child allows you to express emotional affection and to fulfil your baby’s need for physical contact. The benefits of massage are both emotional and physical, so your baby will achieve all round well-being.

See Baby Massage Ireland

If you are a young parent have a look at the Foróige Teen Parenting programme



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        Short videos on the Importance of Play have recently launched which was a collaboration between North Central CFSN and Lifestart Services.   Volume 1 https://youtu.be/xl2F2vZXhbg Volume 2 https://youtu.be/OOy4lmWggtM Volume 3 https://youtu.be/tmv40--l7fA Volume 4 https://youtu.be/Wr9bfTWddts Volume 5 https://youtu.be/7HLkBXvVTFE Volume 6 https://youtu.be/NuUXb51qZY0

Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.


The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books (www.mychild.ie/books) and also on www.MyChild.ie  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.


In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  


Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  


In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the www.mychild.ie website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at www.mychild.ie

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from healthy.childhood@hse.ie

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