These days with information freely available through many channels it is harder to control how much children can see or hear, especially when it comes to tragic events involving other children, for instance. Or devastating natural disasters where the sheer scale of the destruction is hard to understand.
When bad things happen it can be hard to find comforting words. Sometimes a hug will do. Hugging is proven to make us healthier and happier. Scientists say that supporting a person through touch can reduce their stress and that of the person doing the comforting.
Most of us communicate occurs verbally or through our facial expressions. But touch is another way that we can send messages to one another. In fact, we can express a wide range of important emotions to another person by touching different parts of their body, like anger, fear, love, gratitude, happiness, sadness, sympathy, empathy and understanding.
While we search for the right words, remember hugging is a very comforting and communicative type of touch. It really makes things better and is always the right size.
Anyone who works with children and young people has a responsibility to promote their wellbeing, recognise any concerns about a child’s welfare and know what action to take to keep children safe.
It’s important to give children and young people space and time to talk about what is happening in the wider world, whether the issue is climate change, cost of living, or conflict.
Some children may feel uncomfortable about talking to a grown-up. They might prefer talking with other young people or expressing their thoughts and feelings through creative activities, like drawing, listening to or creating music or writing. Consider also that they may want to keep their thoughts and feelings private. Give them the time and support they need to understand what they’re feeling.
Resources, such as the NSPCC have a list of useful strategies.