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Home as a sanctuary

Kids need privacy too. Here's how to help them get it.

In the hustle and bustle of a modern household, it’s easy to forget that children deserve private time too.

The impulse to find private moments starts early on, because adults aren’t the only ones who require time to recharge. Kids also need ‘me time’ to get to know their strengths, pursue their interests, build relationships with friends and family, and simply escape the world for a while.

Here are some suggestions for how to help your little ones get the private time they deserve.

 

Create a sacred space just for them.

It can be a tent, a play tipi, an outdoor shed or a corner of a room – but let that be your child’s special area, where only he or she can decide what happens and who can cross the threshold. Giving them control of a physical space, however tiny, will do wonders.

Knock before entering.

It’s simple, yet so easy to forget. The transition between toddlerhood and school is a big one – and this small dignity before entering a bedroom or the bathroom will help sow the seed that privacy is a right and you’ll respect their need for it.

Designate private time every week.

This is a period of time when it’s absolutely not allowed for mum, dad or any other adult to interrupt. It could be 10 minutes, it could be an hour.

Make it a game.

Children might freeze when confronted with time that’s all their own. So why not create two jars labelled ‘privacy together’ and ‘privacy alone’, filled with ideas scribbled on pieces of folded paper, that they can draw from depending on their mood?

Resist the urge to spy.

Journals, private letters and texts are the fastest way to gain an insight into what your child is going through. But like any adult, it’s the ultimate breach of trust to have one’s privacy invaded in this way. Instead, talk to them.