Helping Our Kids Feel Secure in Insecure Times

Helping Our Kids Feel Secure in Insecure TimesLet’s face it: the absence of routines and predictability is the epitome of scary for kids {and if we’re really being honest, all of us}. Since our last Book Club book was all about parenting secure kids, I’ve had these ideas on my mind coming into this time of “hunker down”. In their book The Power of Showing Up, Doctors Siegel and Bryson discuss how children need to feel safe, seen, and soothed in order to feel secure. In times of uncertainty, helping our kids feel secure is especially challenging. We, as adults, are already so unsure about our situation, it is hard to have any remaining energy to give to the extra needs of our children.

So, let’s talk about a few simple ideas for when situations outside the four walls of our homes may be any level of insecure. I want to share a few ideas with you, but mostly I want to reassure you that even though you might feel overwhelmed and want to put this off until it’s more convenient, addressing these basic needs with your child will be the best things you can do to drastically improve your situation with rapid results.

Help your child feel safe.

How can I help my children feel safe when I don’t feel like they are safe? By being honest. Yes, we should be careful with our words and we do not want to overwhelm them with details that are beyond their comprehension. But we do want to be forthright. When our kids have questions or concerns, we can answer them honestly with the best of our knowledge. If you don’t know the answer and you can’t find an answer for her, be honest and tell her so. Letting our children know that we believe in them and their abilities to handle the truth will give them additional confidence that will continue long after the crises have resolved.

Plus, if you let them know that we are staying home for our safety and for the safety of everyone around us, that might work better than the ever-so-tempting shrug or the “No, we have to stay home” blanket statement.

Help your child feel seen. 

What does your child like to do? What interests her? What talents does he already have? This is a good place to start when considering how your child can feel seen. 

If you have a very active child who loves to play outside but she can’t right now, maybe you could make a space to tape “bases” to the floor and set up a makeshift game of kickball. I’ve totally done that in our dining room + foyer before and my kids LOVED it.

If you have the ingredients for your child’s favorite meal or dessert, maybe this is the perfect time to teach him how to make it.  

I recently sat down with some kids ages 8-11. I was surprised by how many of them said they wanted to build something. This could be the perfect opportunity to grab some recyclables and give your child the freedom to build or create. Or if you have a bit of know-how with tools and wood and paint, it could be a great time for a few lessons.

One of my favorite activities is one we’ve only done a handful of times, but it always comes through in a clutch. I tape painter’s tape into the corners of a door frame so that they almost look like a web. Then we crumble up some junk mail {you know–credit card offers and TV+Internet deals, blah, blah, blah…} and throw them at the sticky side of the web. Once all your junk mail balls have been stuck up to the tape, the game is over. But giggles are a guarantee in the meantime!

Help your child feel soothed. 

Instead of the ominous sound of news reports and worried voices, maybe it’s time for some music. If you or your child plays an instrument, have a concert. If they have favorite songs, crank ‘em up!  We love the Piano Guys’ song It’s Gonna Be Okay. Get a dance party going in your living room and welcome alllllll those endorphins!

Since most routines are probably non-existent right now, consider a familiar routine or two that you may be able to keep. Nightly rituals? Keep them if you can. Do you always do or say a certain thing at a certain time? Those simple, familiar gestures or words can help your child feel normalcy amidst the chaos.

Studies show that reading is one of the most effective stress-reducers available. So, I’m planning a family read-a-thon with my kids next week. 

Whatever you decide to do, I hope these ideas help spark some ways that you can help your kids feel safe, seen, soothed, and secure through this insecure time. 


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