5 Tips for creating emotional security and safety for your children when they are away from home.
It is often discussed how to create a loving home that encompasses safety, love, and security. We validate, empower and create open dialogue, encouraging our children to have voices amongst other things. However, the world and especially school environments can be very different from home. There are different elements to consider and prepare for to assist in creating a feeling of safety and emotional security for our children while in these environments outside of home.
Prepare your children for various encounters, The world can be a tricky place to navigate. Even for adults, we encounter social situations that can be tough to navigate, and know how to react. Helping your children to understand the various encounters they may have while outside your home can help reduce anxiety, and prepare them to handle these encounters with confidence. How to interact with the bus driver, the teacher who may scold you, the children in the class who may have buddied up, the adults at church that say hello, are all wonderful encounters to prepare your child for. Help them with ideas for these types of scenarios based on your families ideals and personal values.
Role Play. Don’t let the classic “What would you do if?” questions disappear into he closet with your past! These are still present and relevant questions to present to your child. What would do if you were left out at school? What would you do if you were being treated unkindly? What would you do if you saw someone being unkind? Role play situations like these and others with your child. It will not guarantee your child handles every situation perfectly, but it will offer them some experience and ideas to better handle situations that may present themselves when they are away from home.
Create social escapes Help your child to identify situations that they may not want to be apart of due to discomfort, or for other reasons and help them with social escapes. If you see children doing something you don’t want to be a part of because you know it may not be right you can… One example might be “I am going to go work on something else with Sarah, I will see you guys around” and so on.
Identify safe and trusted people out side of your home…. and in common environments children frequent. As parents we often want to be everything to and for our children but in reality most of us and rely on a village. From educators, skill instructors, church leaders to childcare providers, there are often various layers of people in our children’s world. Make sure in these various environments that your children know who the safe and trusted contacts are. In case they need help, need to talk about something that has occurred in the moment or in case of an emergency.
Empower your children to have a voice Communication is key. Empowering your children to know that their voice matters and that things they observe, experience and encounter can be shared allows an open channel of communication for both home and the outside world. Empower your children to know and understand that if something is ever going on that makes them uncomfortable there are people in their environments both at home and away from home that can help them. They do not have to face situations alone.
Remember to always maintain an open dialogue with your children. In a healthy home setting, the parents are the safe place and the key educators.
If you or a family member ever needs additional support with creating emotional security and reducing anxiety outside of the home reach out to Melanie D. Davis CMHC for additional support at Wasatch Family Therapy.