Why Your Child Needs a Support System and How to Build One
Sep 29, 2023
When people say it takes a village to raise a child, it really does! What this really means is that support systems play a vital role in your child's mental and physical health as they grow. It is important for any parent to ensure their child is receiving ample support from many different types of people.
What Is a Support System?
A support system is a network of people who provide an individual with practical or emotional support. Support systems come in many different forms, but they are all built around the idea of love and care. Children need people who they can trust and rely on throughout their life.
Support systems may consist of:
Teachers, coaches, family friends, co-workers, neighbors, babysitters and caregivers
Any adult that has an abundant amount of care and concern for your child
Individuals that encourage open and honest communication
Why Are Support Systems so Important?
Children benefit from a support system in many ways. Along with supporting overall child development, a strong support system has been proven to increase health and reduce stress and anxiety.
Other benefits your child may receive from a strong support system include:
Connection: In today’s world, it can be very easy to isolate from others. Although independence is encouraged, too much isolation can be dangerous for young children. A support system offers easy access to social connections at any time.
Increased positive influence: Children with an abundance of leaders in their life are more likely to feel inspired, supported, and lifted. Having a circle of individuals who encourage positive behavior can benefit your child for a lifetime.
Healthy distractions: When your child is experiencing a difficult situation, it can be difficult to focus on anything else. A strong community of support offers your child opportunities for healthy distractions when they simply need a break. Whether it’s going for a walk, trying a new restaurant, or watching a movie, healthy distractions allow children to enjoy themselves for a while without having to talk about the tough situation at hand.
Increased resilience: When a child is confident in the support they will receive, they are more likely to endure tougher situations. They are also able to tolerate an increased amount of stress with a strong support system behind them.
Encouragement of trust: Trust is a pivotal point to building relationships. Having a circle of supportive people that allows open and honest communication also encourages trust.
How Do I Build a Support System for My Child?
Use the following tips to make fostering your child’s network effortless.
Put effort into spending time with other families.
Make a list of people your children can easily call, no questions asked.
Maintain good relationships with the people who are important to your child.
Encourage your child to ask for help from others.
Connect your child with those who share the same interests.
In the end, everyone needs a strong support system. As parents, it’s a great idea to build a solid village of people your children love and trust.
Emily Decker, MD, is an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Urgent Care and Primary Care Clinics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She has a strong interest in child advocacy, and serves as the medical director for CAP4Kids Columbus.
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