Children are spontaneous and uninhibited when it comes to expressing themselves. All they need is an opportunity, encouragement and the right environment to do so. They always find a way to express themselves – even when words might fail them.
There are, however, times when children might no longer able to express themselves as a result of their safe space being wrecked. In these cases, how can adults who seek the best interest of the child, get to know and understand this child and his/her safe spaces.
One of the tried and tested ways is through the use of Art! A child, no matter how good or bad he or she may be at it, finds a way to express himself or herself through Art. By allowing a child to engage in free drawing, you are sure to notice that he or she draws things that are dear to his or her heart. Their drawings depict their exact situation or things that they wish and hope for. For example, encouraging a child to draw something about their ‘home’ or ‘family’ could have you see images depicting the struggles and pain they go through at home or those that let you understand what he or she considers as his or her safe space.
Yet another effective way to understand a child’s safe spaces is through the use of Role Play. Allowing the child to take on an imaginary role, gives him or her the opportunity to showcase the reality of their situations. Role play has always been an effective tool in throwing an insight into a child’s life, giving them the avenue to express themselves without inhibitions or threats of consequences. An example of role play could be to encourage the child to show what he or she would do in a given situation or setting. How the child plays the role would throw light into how the child has perhaps managed situations in the past or could even give you a glimpse into the kind of situations that the child may have experienced.
The insights drawn from the use of Art and Role play could give you pointers into (i) what are the child’s safe spaces, (ii) if the child may have been exploited or violated within his or her safe space, (iii) how the child has handled the situation, etc.
At Love One More, we relentlessly work to ensure that every child has his or her own safe spaces. We encourage children to express themselves when their safe spaces may have become otherwise. If you would like to learn more about how you could help a child by understanding where a child feels safe, you can get in touch with us and we’d be happy to have you join us in our journey of creating safe spaces for our children.