Being a parent is a big job. It’s our responsibility to give kids all the tools they need to become happy and healthy adults. Part of parenting is making space in your home for your child. This can mean both a physical space for them to unwind as well as an emotional space for them to vent their feelings and still be accepted. Creating this space for them can take some forethought, but yield great results.

1. Designate a Cozy Space for Your Child

Having a place to go where everything feels safe is crucial for human beings, even small ones. Having a cozy space of their own can help regulate emotions and keep your little one feeling secure. When kids make blanket forts, they are building a cozy space for themselves. Making a more permanent version of that gives your child somewhere to go when things get to be too much.

2. Get Your Child’s Input on Their Space

Giving your child choices and control is a great way to teach decision-making skills and foster communication and trust. A good way to give choices is to give them some control over the space in the house that is theirs. Whether it’s a room full of favorite colors or a cozy reading nook with favorite plush toys, listening to your child when it comes to designing their space makes it easier for them to feel like a home is their safe place.

3. Keep It Tidy but Allow for Mess

Kids can be naturally messy, and sometimes a little mess can be good! The mess of creativity or working out complex emotions can be valuable tools in a good safe space. However, having a clean space promotes peace, improves mental health, and reduces stress. Help your child keep their space tidy so that they can continue to enjoy it whenever they need it.

4. Provide Lots of Books

Creating a love of reading in young children is not only important for their education but can also help with their emotional intelligence. Having a book to focus on gives them a safe place to process new ideas and emotions and develop analytical skills that will help them in real life.

5. Ask Questions

Asking simple questions about your child’s day establishes a habit of communication and empathy. By listening without judgment to the small things, you can become an emotional safe space for when it’s time to process the big things. Good communication is built on trust and consistency and is a great way to help a child develop emotionally.

6. Spend Quality Time Together

As kids grow they gain independence, but they still thrive in the environment an attentive family can create. Taking the time to put down electronics and other distractions and spending real time together is a great way to strengthen the family bond and make sure your child feels cared for. Try doing a project together, reading a book, or playing a game several times a week to bring you and your child closer and foster trust.