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 vital 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.
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 feel free yet secure around the people within their support system.
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 become confident and happy with various people. Independence will help them in many social situations, at school and 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 hectic 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 and that there will always be someone to take my place.
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 talks to someone you trust, it is good.
A support system can improve a child’s social skills
Children with a robust support system tend to have better social skills because they have more positive opportunities to interact with others. They have a safe and supportive environment to learn and practice these skills, which can help them develop healthy relationships with their peers.
A support system can allow a child to socialise with other children in a safe and supportive environment. This can include playdates, group activities, social events, or even during a lift home from school.
It teaches them the value of a support system
Our children don’t know it yet, but they will grow up like us! A horrifying thought for them I am sure. As parents, we are their most significant role models. They are watching and learning every day.
If they grow up enjoying the benefits of a sound 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 children in the workplace, in relationships, and in many other life areas.
A support system encourages them to reach out and offer support in return
A support system is not a take-take thing. It is about relationships, friendships, loyalty and trust. 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 needed, even for something as simple as a lift back from ballet. But always be there to return the favours.
This is how the world goes around, so we may as well teach our children to spin happily on it now.