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charm words podcast

Source: Courtesy of ABF Creative / Charm Words

Children’s mental health has been particularly vulnerable during the pandemic yet an often under-discussed topic. Most children lost social interactions with their friends during school closures and lockdowns — and some, being at home more, dealt with heightened stressors including financial pressures, sick family members, the loss of loved ones, and even abuse in their households.

With that in mind, MADAMENOIRE recently got the inside scoop on “Charm Words,” a podcast launched by ABF Creative specifically geared towards providing children of color with inspiring daily affirmations to bring their self-worth to the forefront at both the start and end of their day.

As detailed in the show’s description, “Charm Words” is rooted in helping kids “deal with feelings of emotional distress while learning new self-care abilities” and freeing children from “invasive and troubling thoughts.”

“We saw an opportunity to create a space that supports the growth and mental health of Black children, truly making an impact on their learning experience,” Anthony Fraiser, ABF Creative CEO, told MN. “Affirmations of worth have been shown to be effective in helping Black children perform better in school.”

“Charm Words” uses affirmations that tackle “the nuanced experience children of color live with every day as an alternative to negative self-talk,” according to the CEO.

Regarding the pandemic’s effect on the mental health of Black children, MN also got insight from Dr. Ed Greene, Ph.D., an expert in child development, early learning, and media environments. He emphasized that “The pandemic has disproportionately affected Black communities who have long suffered from health care disparities and trauma.”

“While losing a parent or caregiver is always a challenge to a child’s mental health, these traumas are magnified in a situation like COVID-19. There have been a greater number of caregivers lost to COVID-19 in BIPOC communities,” the expert outlined. “Researchers recently found that Black children are disproportionately affected, comprising only 14% of children in the United States but 20% of those losing a parent to COVID-19.”

In the broader scope — unrelated to COVID’s impact — Greene also cited a study that noted repeated exposure and internalization of experiences based on skin tone that make Black children feel they’re “dumb, ugly, or criminals” can produce negative inner narratives, weakened self-control, and even lead to short-term increases in depressive symptoms.

While listening to “Charm Words,” children will go through breathing exercises, learn breathing techniques, and be enriched with “positive and encouraging messages” from the show’s fictional host Zola, who gives short monologues at the beginning of each episode.

“These intentional, positive phrases — which we call ‘Charm Words’ — rewrite the negative mental scripts that our children unknowingly inherit from their environment as they experience life’s many struggles for the first time,” Fraiser highlighted. “The affirmations on the show touch on self-worth, confidence, dealing with bullies, celebrating diversity, dealing with anger.”

Each episode of “Charm Words” lasts around three minutes and can be streamed on any platform you usually listen to podcasts, including Apple, Spotify and YouTube. Learn more about the series here.

RELATED CONTENT: “Two Educators Explain Why We Need To Ditch The Term’ Learning Loss’ In Regard To Black And Brown Students, Remote Learning, And The Pandemic”

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