What Makes a Child Feel Emotionally Safe?

I suspect our Foundation team is not alone in thinking, November, already? How is that possible? We are embracing all the great work we can still do this year and turning our thoughts to Thanksgiving and the Holiday season.

For many of us, this is the season we connect with our friends and family to share joys and sorrows. We gather in a place where we know we belong, where we are seen and loved for who we really are. This acceptance gives us the confidence and freedom to explore, take risks and be vulnerable. Put simply, we feel emotionally safe.

Emotional safety is the foundation of resilience and well-being. It is required for children and their caregivers to develop healthy relationships. As adults we are responsible for creating emotionally safe environments for children so that they can thrive in their families and communities.

Building supportive environments for children includes fostering their emotional well-being. Young people need help to develop self-regulation skills so that they can name, express, and manage their emotions. Beyond that, emotional safety asks that:

  • We welcome children into environments that affirm them and honor their identity
  • We are a consistent and predictable presence
  • We practice empathetic listening
  • We are curious without being judgmental
  • We offer opportunities to take risks without fear of failure

Creating this foundation for children is not easy work. It requires that adults examine their own emotional well-being. At the Sauer Family Foundation, we believe in the power of nurturing, supportive relationships for children and youth to develop to their full potential. This Thanksgiving, we are grateful for acceptance, we are grateful for connection, and we are grateful for all those who support the emotional well-being of Minnesota’s children and families.

– Emma