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All Ages

Connecting to Kids

Kids do best when all of the settings where they spend time—home, school, recreation programs, faith communities, neighborhoods, libraries, friend’s homes, etc.—are intentionally supporting and valuing them.  Just as our SRFC resources focus on how individuals can build caring, consistent relationships with children and young people, we are also encouraging programs and organizations to intentionally take action to show that kids matter. 

Why Kids Need Five

Research shows the #1 way to “protect” kids is to make sure they are connected to adults in a variety of settings: at home, at school, and in the community.  Kids need multiple connections. 

Are you currently playing a significant role in the lives of five children?  Are there children or young people in your life for whom you could play this role? 

SRFC Tools

Identify a child or young person you want to intentionally value and support. 

Choose someone you already come in contact with on a regular basis.  For ideas, think about kids in your extended family, your neighborhood, your faith community, children of your friends, your child’s friend, or a young person at a store you frequent.

Dealing with Challenges

All relationships experience challenging times and
relationships between caring adults and children and young people are no
exception.  We’ve gathered some tips to
help you navigate some of the common challenges you might experience.

Advocate for Children & Young People

In addition to the important role you can play in the lives of individual children and young people, you also play an important role in the lives of all children and young people in our communities through activities including voting, talking, and supporting organizations and causes that are important to you.  

Expanding Their Horizons

One way to build relationships with children and young people is through shared experiences.  Look for opportunities to take them places and show them new experiences.  Visit places you haven’t been to since you were a child or since your children were young.  Activities enrich kids’ lives.  Shared activities create memories.  Try some of these ideas for showing children and young people about themselves and their communities. 

Building Relationships

Testing the Water:

It can be difficult to befriend someone new.  You might feel nervous and not know where to start.  To use a swimming metaphor, you don’t need to dive right in.  Start by dipping your toes in then, as you get more comfortable, go deeper until you’re full fledged swimming. Start slow but get started.    

Connecting More Deeply

Take time to get to know the children and young people in your life—really get to know them as individuals with their own ideas, interests, and opinions.  Focus on them when you’re together.  Give them your undivided attention.  When you listen and accept them for who they are, you make it safe for them to express themselves and their feelings.  You also help them find their own voice. 

Listen

Conversation Starters

Any open-ended question, asked with genuine curiosity, can get a conversation started.  The secret is simply to make a point to connect.  Kids want to be heard by adults in their lives.  Remember, this is not an interview. You’re getting to know them.  Listen and let them lead the conversation in the direction that interests them. 

Tips for Talking with Kids

  1. The secret is simply to make a point to connect with them.  Get to know them.  Listen.  Kids want to be heard by adults in their lives. 
  2. Any open-ended question, asked with genuine curiosity, can get a conversation started.  Your genuine curiosity will encourage young people to open up and let you really get to know them.    
  3. Experiment with when and where kids are most receptive to talking.  Not all conversations need to happen one on one, face to face.&nbsp