By Allison Schelske, Victims of Crime Coordinator II
It is the time of the year when we are preparing our kids to for a new school year. What does that mean after a full summer of running between friends’ houses, riding bikes, swimming and all the summer activities our kids enjoy?
Going back to school means preparing as a family to create an environment that feels safe, stable, and nurturing for our young minds. Follow along with our August Calendar to learn the small activities we can add to our day to help prepare our homes for the new school year.
In order to set up our children for success, we are helping guide them to managing their feelings, learning how to express themselves, and learn how to respectfully handle conflicts. On the calendar, there are just a couple ways you can begin to add these habits into our lives.
As parents, guardians, or families raising our grandchildren, nieces and nephews we are leading them by example and if we are not learning to care for ourselves, we are not teaching our children to care for themselves. By taking the extra steps to care for our bodies, minds, emotions and spirit, we are teaching our children about our native resilience.
When children and youth experience serious adversity, such as witnessing violence, we have a shared responsibility to buffer the impact. The idea is to add positive supports to counter the weight of negative experiences.
Children thrive when they have regular interactions with responsive, caring adults. Neglect is the most reported form of child maltreatment, and it can have long-term effects on children’s health and development. Child neglect is more likely to occur in families that are experiencing high stress. Poverty, especially, can overload parents’ abilities to provide supportive relationships children need. Together, let’s begin to understand how everyone in our home is feeling and broaden our knowledge to combat these stresses.
Nurturing and Attachment
Safety, stability, and nurturing are three critical qualities of relationships and environments that make a difference for children as they grow and develop. They can be defined as follows:
Safety: The extent to which a child is free from fear and secure from physical or psychological harm within their social and physical environment.
Stability: The degree of predictability and consistency in a child’s social, emotional, and physical environment.
Nurturing: The extent to which children’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs are sensitively and consistently met.
By spending the extra time nurturing these qualities, we are helping build a feeling of security within our home.
Spend time on activities that help build open communication within the families. To increase the sense of safety and security in our homes, we want our children to come to us if they feel unsafe or if anything feels wrong. We must teach our children and ourselves to speak the truth even when we are scared and to meet them with love when we feel shame. Begin to express with “I” and teach children that we are open to what they feel.
We are gifted with family and with community. When we feel disconnected, we must prioritize to restore our relationships. Remember to reach out and check on others, identify who your children have relationships with, and teach by example how to show respect to the earth, water, and the community.
Children may experience violence in many forms such as being perpetrated by a peer, witnessing violence in the home or in the community, or living with someone who is mentally unwell or suffering with addiction. Together, we can honor our children and help prevent violence.
Contact Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada Family Violence Prevention Program for educational presentations at one of the office locations or if you need services contact our office or our 24/7 crisis line at 775-722-8794.