The Office of Children and Families (OCF) announces the 2024 Children’s Mental Health Matters Campaign (CMHM)! Held in May, the campaign is sponsored by the Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAMD), with support from the Maryland Department of Health—Behavioral Health Administration, Maryland Family Network, Maryland State Department of Education and others.

CMHM highlights the importance of caring for every child’s mental health

and reinforces that positive supports are essential to a child’s healthy development.

Learn more through OCF's Family Support Center events and parent workshops that help support you on your journey as a parent, including “Discussing Your Child’s Mental Health with Your Primary Care Provider” on May 1, at 7 p.m. Register

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May Parent Workshops

View the full schedule of free workshops

Positive Solutions for Families (PSF) 

May 1, 8, 15, 22 / noon to 1 p.m. / Register

Learn how to promote children’s social and emotional skills, address challenging behaviors and use positive approaches to manage emotions in this four-part lunch & learn series. For families with children up to age eight.

Positive Solutions Cafe

May 22 / 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. / Register

Meet other parents, discuss lessons learned, ask questions and learn more about PSF. Parents will receive free resources to implement the strategies in their own home. Dinner provided; child care is available.

Una guía para padres sobre comportamientos desafiantes

Miércoles 8 de Mayo / 7 p.m. horas / Regístrate Aprenda cómo ayudar a disminuir la ocurrencia de comportamientos negativos y/o qué hacer cuando ocurren. Asista a esta sesión, haga preguntas y salga con habilidades y recursos que puede utilizar de inmediato para sentirse más seguro en su crianza. Para padres, abuelos y personas involucradas con niños de 2 a 8 años.

Navigating Your Child’s Mental Health Journey

May 13, 7 to 8 p.m. / Virtual / Register

Taking the first steps to navigate mental health supports for children can be a challenging. Learn the stages of mental health and find local resources and supports to guide your understanding and provide choices to help.

Strengthen your Child’s Coping Skills

May 16, 7 to 8 p.m. / Virtual / Register

Learn strategies to help your child prepare, regulate and deal with small to big life transitions, overwhelming and uncomfortable emotions, worries, disappointment, failure, criticism, and sadness.

Eat, Learn, Grow - Social Emotional

May 20, 7 to 8 p.m. / Virtual / Register

Explore social emotional development, milestones and skills children need to manage emotions and build relationships with others, from birth to age five.

Sibling Rivalry

May 23, 7 to 8 p.m. / Virtual / Register

This workshop is for parents who are experiencing challenges between their children such as arguing, name calling and fighting. 

Children's Mental Health Matters Month 2024 poster

Celebrate Children's Mental Health Awareness and Find Mental Health Resources for your Family

Show your support for the 2024 Children's Mental Health Matters (CMHM) campaign by lighting your home and business green May 5 to 11 to mark Children's Mental Health Awareness Week, and wear green on May 7 for Children’s Mental Health Day! For more CMHM activities, view the 2024 Family Self Care calendar.

The CMHM online Resource Directory is a rich library full of curated toolkits, activity sheets and information to support children across the lifespan, covering a variety of topics related to children's mental health, tools to support a child you care about, coping skills, and support for your family or a family you know.

Here are some other mental health support options:

  • National Mental Health Crisis Helpline: 988

Call or text 988 for free, immediate and confidential help from a trained counselor.

  • Howard County Youth Behavioral Health Road Map

Learn where your child is on the road to health and well-being and find resources in Howard County for you and your child. View the Youth Behavioral Health Road Map.

  • Military Child Well-Being Toolkit

To access social-emotional supports and resources, view the toolkit. The Local Health Improvement Coalition's Veteran Resource page may also be helpful.

  • Parent CRAFT

A self-paced online video course teaches parents, caregivers and concerned others solution-focused, practical skills and techniques needed to address the risks of substance use. This free resource is available to all Maryland parents and caregivers through Maryland Family and Youth Interventions for Substance Use. Learn more and register.

  • Complete Guide to Managing Behavior Problems

Behavior is one way we communicate, especially children with disabilities. Consider the messages behind the tantrums; explore needed coping skills and how we can help them learn those skills. Learn more from the Child Mild Institute about behaviors and how to help children manage them. Resources available in English and Spanish.

Raising Resilient and Independent Kids

Building Autonomy with Children

Ellen Galinsky talks about strategies to build autonomy skills in kids and teens in her interview about autonomy support. View details to learn more. For more tips to help kids cope, attend OCF's free virtual workshop "Strengthen your Child’s Coping Skills," on May 16 at 7 p.m. Register now.

Fostering Resilience in Kids and Teens

As parents, we often wonder how anxiety, unrest, isolation, and change may affect our children. How can we help them cope? Will they be okay? The good news is that resilience — the ability to overcome hardship and stress — is something we can learn and strengthen at any age. We can't prevent our kids from experiencing deep sadness, stress, or setbacks, but we can nurture their ability to cope and grow from difficult experiences. Five ways to help our children and teens learn resilience.

child care center

On May 10, thank a Howard County Child Care Provider

The National Association for Family Child Care established Provider Appreciation Day in 1995 to thank family child care and center-based providers. Provider Appreciation Day is now celebrated around the world on the Friday before Mother's Day. Show your appreciation for child care providers by expressing a simple thank you, giving a small gift and posting on social media with the hashtag #ProviderAppreciationDay. OCF extends our sincere thanks to child care providers throughout the county for all you do for our children and families! More ways to say thanks.

Family Support Center Resources & Workshops

Stories, Explore and Play

Family Support Center (FSC)

9790 Patuxent Woods Drive

May 7, 14, 21 / 10 to 11 a.m.

Free / Register

Learn how to support a young child’s social emotional skills in this three-week series for you and your baby, newborn to two years old.

On the Journey to Fatherhood Series

Dads Empowerment Workshop: May 16, 6 to 7 p.m.

Navigating Fatherhood Solo: June 8, 10 to 11 a.m.

Family Support Center / Register

This FREE series continues with two sessions to support Howard County fathers and help them develop healthy parenting habits, build networks and strengthen bonds with their children, ages zero to five. Participants will be entered into a raffle to win prizes. Email Kristin Reel or call 410-313-5987 (voice/relay) for more information.

Get creative with the Howard County Library System
A fairy house

Fairy House Engineering (Ages six to eight)

Central Branch / May 1, 4:30 to 5:15 p.m.

Celebrate May Day by welcoming fairies and other creatures into your garden! Construct and decorate a fairy house using natural materials. 

Mother's Day Make & Take Cards (ages, zero to five, with adult)

Central Branch / May 8, 11 a.m. to non

Create a hand-made card to say a personal "I love you" to moms and other special people in your children's lives for Mother's Day.

Hatchlings: New Baby and Me (Newborn to six months, with adult)

East Columbia Branch / Wednesdays starting, May 1, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

An interactive four-week early literacy class series for parents/caregivers with newborns from birth to six months. Learn more about supporting your baby's development through fun songs and activities together.

Craft Pop-Up Shop: AAPI Heritage Month Edition

Miller Branch / Tuesday, May 14, 11 a.m. to noon

Pop in and make a craft inspired by Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!


Howard County Library Card Art Contest

Design a library card that will debut in September for National Library Card Sign-up Month to reflect the 2024 theme, "The library is your place to Learn, Connect, and Grow" and submit it by May 31. View contest details and entry form.

Maximize Love, Manage Stress

Just like a work schedule, having a home schedule can help reduce stress especially for the children in your household. Maintaining a set routine can help your child feel more comfortable. This can be as simple as reading a story and giving your child a hug and kiss before going to bed. Showing affection to children helps them feel comforted and loved; never miss an opportunity to tell your child you love them! 

Sign up to receive free Basics Insights weekly text messages, based on your child’s developmental stage, from birth to age five (available in English or Spanish).

Sign up for The Basics
A collage of photos taken at the 2024 Children's Discovery Fair

Math was all around us at the Children's Discovery Fair!

Howard County’s Early Childhood Advisory Committee hosted a very successful 20th annual Children’s Discovery Fair on April 13. With more than 350 parents and kids in attendance, the fair offered a variety of fun, hands-on activities to build a strong math foundation, it was a great opportunity to help children and families strengthen school readiness skills. View more pictures. Preschoolers are capable of learning more complicated math concepts than most parents realize, according to a new Vanderbilt study. Learn more.

Little boy walking to kindergarten

Is your child ready for kindergarten?

Fall 2024 registration for new students or students entering public school kindergarten is underway for all Howard County Public Schools. Kindergarten is mandatory in Maryland; children that turn five by September 1, 2024 are eligible to start kindergarten this fall. For more information, download the registration flier in English, Chinese, Spanish and Korean. Learn more about readiness in the May Kindergarten Readiness Newsletter.

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