A: Children who know they have a core group of people that have their back (research says having just one can save a child) are more secure, independent and resilient.
Circle of Safe Adults
We call this core group of people A Circle of Safe Adults. A Circle of Safe Adults consists of relatives, family friends, and teachers your child feels comfortable to talk with about anything. It could be about something exciting that they want to share or a request for help if they feel threatened, fearful, confused, or unsafe in any way. Explain to your child that the people in the Circle of Safe Adults are people they know and love, people who we spend time with, have dinner with, and it is people your grown-ups know too.
Ask your child to draw and label three trusted adults, inside a circle. Then discuss why they chose these people. If they chose someone you don’t feel comfortable with, gently guide them to a more appropriate adult. When doing this activity with your child you will get a glimpse into who they consider trusted adults. If they put someone in the Circle that takes you by surprise (ex. teen neighbor from down the block), gently ask open ended questions to better understand your child’s relationship with this person. Ex. When do you see Joe? What do you do when you play together? Explain that Joe is somebody he knows but isn’t a person to go to for help. In this situation, make a point of meeting Joe if you haven’t already, and supervising their interactions. Be knowledgeable about the grooming process.
Inform the individuals your child selected for their Circle of Safe Adults, so they will be aware of this honor and responsibility.
You can put the drawing on your fridge or display it in your child’s room. Remind your child often that these people are safe and are always there to help them, if they need it.
Here’s a blank Circle of Safe Adult sheet you can print out.