The world is full of hatred and frustration. Luckily, you are there for your child to make her feel safe and secure.
On a hot sunny afternoon, 15 months back, my son was born. And as I held him for the very first time, I said,”Don’t worry, buddy. I am going to make you feel safe.” There were literally million other things that I could have said. I could have told him that I would give him everything he would ever need. Or, that I would see to it that he would never be hurt.
In my own limited comprehension of the world, that would take away the fun from the journey called life. And so, I wanted him to make his own mistakes, be afraid, be bold, and I wanted him to know that at the end of it, I would be the person around whom he would feel safe.
The bleak today
I grew up in simpler times when my parents were not constantly worried about paedophilia and cyber-bullying. I am not saying that the former has increased now, but back then, they worried about other things. And I grew up shielded from the world events as there were just three sources of getting the news – TV, newspaper, and adults discussing world events.
Today, in the world of apps and popups, many kids came to know about the las vegas shooting as soon as it happened. Partly, it was also because they sensed a disturbance in their parents and asked what was wrong. But for a considerable few, they found about it on their own.
Children and fear
How do you think a child copes up with fear? It depends on the age, but more often than not, he just thinks about the scariest thing that he can think of and amplify it. And that is why 3-year-olds think that the worst thing that can happen to them is if 10 monsters would attack them instead of 1.
The way they cope with it is by finding a safe place. And, I hope it is always you – the parent, and not a pillow or a blanket. That said, making a child feel safe is not something that will happen instantly. You have to work for it. For mums, it is a tad bit easier than dads, but it is essential that the child feels that both of you are his safety net.
Making your child feel safe
The good news is, you do not have to do anything out of ordinary. You just need to do the same things over and over. And before you know it, he will feel safer by every passing day. So here are 7 things that you need to do.
- Ensure that their basic needs are met. Children who eat and rest well tend to be less irritable. And it is easier for them to seek your arms as a safer place.
- Set a routine. Set and stick to a routine. Read a book, feed them on time. Children are more at ease when they know what is coming next. This reduces their anxiety and makes them feel safe.
- Teach them to express. Toddlers and even older children throw tantrums because they are unable to express their frustration in words. So, next time he is angry and about to bash things up, instead of caning him, ask him to express what is wrong. You will be surprised to see the change when you keep on doing this.
- Encourage them to exercise. When a child is outdoors, working it out, his brain is releasing endorphins – the hormones that make him feel good. He will feel much safer in a better mood than in a gloomy one.
- Show them in small gestures that you care. Be it a school project or a silly story, lend a helping hand. It is not enough to say you are there for him. It is through these small gestures that you show him you mean what you say. Believe me, my mum still listens to everything I have to say and I know that she is still my safety net!
- Don’t hold back the love. Smother your kids with hugs and kisses even if they become slightly embarrassed. The age 5-12 for girls and 8-14 for boys is awkward. They don’t want to be seen with their parents but still crave for the attention. You have been through it, you know how it feels! So, don’t hold back.
- Blankeys are okay. Many children become attached to a blanket or a toy. It is okay. It is their safe place, so don’t take it away from them.
Now come on mum, spread the love (and the word by sharing this article)!