Do you have a support system? You will have. We all do.
It may not be something you think about or plan. It may not be carefully mapped out and stuck to your fridge, but it will be there.
A support system consists of the people and processes you have in place to help you in your everyday life. And they are not just for adults, they are extremely important for children too.
Today’s youth are battling a crazy-fast-paced world. With so many options and opportunities, school is just one part of their busy schedules. Extra-curricular activities intrude on afternoons, weekends and into the evenings. The logistics alone can be stressful. And stress for your child is one thing you seriously want to avoid.
Let’s look at the benefits of building a support system that will allow our children to flourish and grow.
Why every child needs a great support system
It teaches them to trust others
Even with a newborn baby we are advised to hand them over and get them used to the company of others. And this is great advice. Life may be busy for kids, but it is even busier for adults, especially for the growing number of working and/or single parents. Children must learn to trust and rely on other people, so when mum or dad can’t be there, they feel comfortable being cared for by someone else.
It gives them boundaries
As kids grow and become more confident, they crave freedom. But (and they may not admit this) they also love boundaries. It means they can flit around the people within their support system, feeling free, yet feeling secure. Applications such as The Hug App rather cleverly allow us to build support systems based on friends and family only. This means our children can be cared for by others at the drop of a hat, but it is always people within the boundaries set by us, their parents.
It gives them a sense of independence
The first play date, the first school trip, the first sleepover. All these momentous occasions give children independence. They are not with mum or dad. They are out of their comfort zone. It is a big step. The more extended your child’s support system is, the more often they will step outside their comfort zone and will become confident and happy with a range of different people. Independence will help them in many social situations, at school and certainly later in life.
It gives them a feeling of safety
Things happen. We can’t always make school pick-up. As a working single mother my life is ridiculously busy and my daughters witness it. Occasionally, I can’t get to where I need to be and they know this. But they also know I would never let them down, that there will always be someone to take my place. I mentioned The Hug App already, well it not only allows me to find support at the tap of a button, but it can GPS track my girls’ location while in the care of others. This is a big plus in terms of safety .. for them and for me.
It gives them people to turn to advice
If your child has a support system wrapped around their lives, they have much more than just the practicalities of getting them from A to B and back again. They have a group of people they can turn to for advice and support. Children are constantly developing. They have issues, fears and inhibitions. The more people your child can turn to, the better. And don’t worry if it isn’t you. As long as your child is talking to someone you trust, it is a good thing.
It teaches them the value of a support system
Our children don’t know it yet, but they will grow up to be just like us! A horrifying thought for them I am sure. As parents, we are their biggest roles models. They are watching and learning every day. If they grow up enjoying the benefits of a good support system, they will create them for themselves when they grow older. And it goes further than the front door. Learning how to get support and delegate will help them in the workplace, relationships and many other areas in life.
It encourages them to reach out and to offer support in return
A support system is not a take-take thing. It is about relationships, friendships, loyalty and trust. In order to make it work you must offer support in return. These are brilliant values and lessons to instil in our children. It is ok to reach out for help when you need it, even for something as simple as a lift back from ballet. But always be there to return the favours. At the end the day, this is how the world goes round, so we may as well teach our children to spin happily on it now.