Donegal Rocks! – an invitation from Cuidiú

The North West branch of Cuidiú is calling on families and the wider Donegal community to get involved in Donegal Rocks this summer by hunting for painted rocks in your local area or by painting some rocks and hiding for others to find! This is a fun and rewarding activity people of all ages and artistic abilities can take part in and we are inviting everyone from parent & toddler groups, childcare services, summer camps, youth groups, disability groups, art groups, women’s groups, active retirement groups and any other community group to get involved!

What is Cuidiú? 
The Irish name Cuidiú means care and support for all parents with bumps or babes, tots or teens. We are a parent-to-parent support charity run by volunteer parents.
Cuidiú North West has set up a Donegal Rocks Facebook page – here’s everything you need to know:

Painting rocks
Use clean dry rocks, a base coat of paint (optional) and then acrylic paints/permanent markers/paint markers for your designs. Always seal your rocks after painting so they are protected from the weather. Please don’t put accessories on the rocks (e.g. sticky eyes) as this could be harmful to the environment or wildlife. You don’t have to be an artist to take part, anything bright and cheerful works. There are tons of websites with lots of tips on rock painting and design inspiration.
Please make sure you write “Post a pic to Donegal Rocks on Facebook. Keep or re-hide me” or if you are short on space “Donegal Rocks” and [F] (Facebook symbol) on the back so people know what to do with their discovery and how to find us!

Hiding rocks 
Please be safe and considerate when hiding your painted rocks. Never hide them where they’ll cause property damage or on private property without permission. Don’t hide them in tall grass where lawn equipment could be damaged or where someone could trip over them.
We encourage everyone to post a Rock Drop – a picture of your rocks before you hide them and the general area they will be hidden to let people if there are rocks in their area.

Searching for rocks 
You can search the Facebook group for your town/village/beach/park/forest walk to see if anything has been hidden there recently – use the search option at the top of the group page. If you choose to go “rock hunting” please do so with NO expectations of actually finding them. Let it be about the exploration and adventure! If you have small children with you that you don’t want to disappoint maybe carry a few of your own rocks for them to “find”.

Finding Rocks
People love to see pictures when their creations are found, and love to see them move from location to location spreading joy, so if you find a rock please post a photo of it stating where it was found then:
1. Rehide it. You can do this at the same location or move it elsewhere. Be sure to let us know you’ve found it and repost the new location on the group page when hidden
OR 2. Keep it, and leave a comment on the ‘Rock Drop’ post advising its no longer there. We highly encouraged you to create and hide another rock to replace the one you kept.

Join the Donegal Rocks Facebook Group today and spread the word!

*** If you live or are visiting Inishowen check out the Inishowen Rocks Facebook page

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Safer Internet Day takes place next Tuesday, 7th February 2023. Sadly more than 1 in 4 young people in Ireland have experienced cyberbullying, yet only 60% of victims tell their parents. As teenagers and children spend more time on the internet, ensuring it's a safe space is ever more important. To encourage conversation about life online and help parents keep their children safe, I'd like to share a free resource created by It's a comprehensive guide which includes things like:
  • How to reduce the risks online
  • How to recognise cyber bullying and grooming
  • How to educate children on cyber safety
  • How to set up parental controls on devices
I thought it may be useful to share the link to the guide - - which you can include on your website ahead of Safer Internet Day, to help parents and children who may need some extra support. We've also put together some handy top tips you can use on your website: 10 tips to keep your children safe online
  1. Talk about it:Make time to chat about online risks and how to use the internet safelyas soon as they're old enough to go online. Encourage your children to speak to you about what they view online and empower them to act if they're worried about anything.
  2. Recognise the risks: Educate yourself about the potential dangers children could face online so  it’s easier to spot warning signs. Get to know what platforms your children use, and learn about dangers such as phishing, grooming and cyberbullying.
  3. Teach the do's and don'ts: Be clear about the non-negotiables.  For example, teach your child not to share personal details or photos with strangers and instruct them not to click on links to unknown websites or texts. Do encourage your child to question what they see and only accept friend requests from people they know.
  4. Spot the signs: Pay attention to your children's behaviour whilst on and off their devices. Being alert to changes in your child can help prevent problems from escalating. Some warning signs are withdrawing from friends or family, sleeping and eating problems or losing interest in previously loved hobbies or interests.
  5. Set boundaries:Let your children know what they can and can't do on the internet from the get-go. Agree on what devices they can use, when, and how long they can spend online. As they get older, explaining and negotiating boundaries may be more effective.
  6. Take 'parental' control: These ready-made boundaries put parents in control of what children can see online. They can be set up through your internet provider at device level to block specific websites and filter out inappropriate content.
  7. Be social media savvy:  The popularity of social media apps like TikTok and Snapchat makes it harder to keep track of what your child is accessing online.  Fortunately, each social media platform has its own privacy settings and safety tips for parents. Check them out before you let children have their own accounts.
  8. Protect from harm:Install antivirus software on family devices to minimise the risk of cyber attacks or scams. Use two-factor authentication (2FA) for extra security on your online accounts. This can also stop children from signing into services they're not allowed to use.
  9. Set a great example:  You're the greatest 'influencer' in your children's lives when they're young.  Limiting your time online, discussing dangers you've come across, and questioning what you view can help reinforce the rules you are setting for your children and, in turn, influence their online behaviour.
  10. Seek support:The more you learn about online dangers, the better equipped you'll be to handle them. There are some great resources like  webwise.ieinternetmatters.organd to help you recognise and reduce online dangers and seek advice if you think your child is experiencing cyberbullying or is at risk online.

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 ( and also on  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 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

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from

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