Right now, the world feels pretty scary, not unlike how it feels after someone we love dies. In both, there is a great deal of uncertainty about what will happen next and a lot of things feel out of one’s control. These feelings can be especially difficult for kids to process because they are not used to having to deal with so much uncertainty and fear. In these situations, it’s helpful for children to have a space where they feel safe, where they have control, and there isn’t a reason to feel afraid.
For some kids this may be at home (or a specific location in the house), for others it may be when they are with a certain person, or even doing a specific activity. What makes a child feel safe is unique to them, and may even change depending on circumstances. Start a family discussion on what makes each person feel safe: Is it a specific place? A person? An activity? A motivational saying or quote? Talk about the similarities and differences between each person’s safe place as well as why those things make them feel safe. After discussing each other’s safe places have fun illustrating those places with the activity below.
Plain Pillow Case (white or other solid color)
Large Piece of Cardboard
Fabric Markers or Sharpies
Start by putting the piece of cardboard inside the pillow case to prevent bleeding from one side to the other. Decorate the pillow with pictures, words, quotes, etc. that remind you of your safe space, or things that make you feel safe. The pillow cases can also be decorated with positive thoughts or dreams you want to have. Both sides of the pillow can be decorated, making sure that the marker ink has dried before turning it over to decorate the other side.
After finishing the pillow cases talk about how they can be a reminder before going to bed at night of things that are safe to help them feel safe and calm before going to sleep, as well as when they wake up in the morning.
Author – Peyton Petty, Program Coordinator