Children are better able to cope with stress if they are rested, hydrated, eat healthy food and feel safe. The following are some practical ways you can positively engage with your child around emotional safety in the home. The strategies are all employed in a school context in your child’s classroom. How are you going at home with them?
Have predictable home routines. Children thrive when they know what to expect, and when. Include morning, afternoon and evening chores in the routine.
Have rules with logical and fair consequences. Implement brief and meaningful consequences immediately. Apologise, or have your children apologise and then move on.
Make a no-yelling rule. Have conversations, or give instructions, in the same room as each other.
Inform your children of changes to their daily and weekly plan. Some kids may find it very difficult to concentrate at school if they are unsure about who is picking them up, or if Mum won’t be home before bedtime to tuck them in.
Limit extra curricular activities to 1-3 mornings or afternoons for the whole week. Consider how extra siblings or parent’s activities also impact your child. Too much structure in the week can cause burn out for kids, even if they are not the ones directly participating in the activity.
Shield children from distressing issues. Children do not need to hear conversations about adult topics or stresses that they are not able to manage. If you are going through a separation, job loss or other stressful event, minimise discussions while your children are around.
Monitor gaming and TV usage heavily. Even games and shows rated PG can have distressing and complicated themes and ideas that confuse children.
Seek help if a child is exposed to family violence. (This includes hearing about it in conversation). Traumatised children do not feel safe.
Spend some time reflecting on how your home is an emotionally safe environment for your children and consider how you are being emotionally cared for too. Seek help when you need it for yourself, and let your kids know that when you are stressed, you have strategies in place that you are working through. Employing these simple strategies will best help children to realise their potential and to be happy and well adjusted across all areas of life.
Mrs Hayley Burns / JS Learning Support Coordinator