Supporting Safe Experiences in Early Childhood Care

Are you passionate about creating a safe and nurturing environment for young children? Well, you’ll love this topic – Supporting a physically and psychologically safe experience in Early Childhood Care. Let’s explore how we can create a warm and welcoming space that supports the growth and development of our little ones! Early childhood educators play a pivotal role in fostering a sense of safety and security for children in their care, especially for those who have experienced trauma or instability in their lives. Here are several strategies with supporting examples educators can use to help children feel safe:

Offer predictability.

Create a predictable environment by establishing and maintaining consistent routines. Knowing what to expect from their day can help children feel secure and grounded. Post visual cues and reminders about the daily schedule. Remind children often about what is coming up next.

First, we will have our morning meeting, and then when you hear the music start to play, we will move on to our centers.

Create a safe environment.

Design the classroom to be a welcoming and safe space. Ensure it is clean, well-organized, and filled with comforting materials. Areas that allow children to have their own space can also help them feel secure. Keep things simple, use color-coding or symbols to label supplies and toys.

If you want to read a book about animals look in the blue baskets. If you want to look at a book about fairies and unicorns look in the green baskets.

Be curious.

Respond and interact with children sensitively. Try to consider, “What has this child experienced?” Be attentive to children’s needs and respond to them caring and empathetically. Showing that you understand and care about their feelings can help build trust. The behavior you observe might be the only way a child can communicate their experience at this age. Does your body need a break right now? Maybe you can walk with me to get a drink of water.

Set expectations.

Set clear and consistent boundaries, rules, and expectations in an understandable way for children. Consistent boundaries can make the world seem more predictable and less frightening. Do not expect children to remember everything after only telling them once or twice. Remind children often about the boundaries, rules, and expectations. During our morning meetings, please keep your hands and feet to yourself.

Empower children.

Encourage autonomy and choice whenever possible. This can help them feel empowered and have a sense of control over their environment and experiences. Provide a limited number of simple choices to provide children with ownership without overwhelming them. Do you want to start with the ABC Center or the Science Center?


Build strong, positive relationships with each child. A secure attachment with caregivers can be a significant source of comfort and safety for children. Have fun, play, and laugh with children.

Wow, I see a cat on your shirt, I have a cat at home named Fluffy.

Emotional awareness.

Recognize, name, and validate Feelings. Acknowledge children’s feelings and let them know it’s okay to feel however they do. This validation can help them feel understood and supported.

It is so sad when playground time is over. I know it is hard to stop swinging on the swings because you enjoy it so much.

Share your calm.

Model calmness and patience. Children are very perceptive and can pick up on the emotional states of adults around them. A calm presence can be very reassuring.

Let’s take a deep breath together. In through your nose and out through your mouth. Great. Let’s do that one more time.

Practice safety protocols.

Conduct regular safety drills (e.g., fire drills) in a way that is not frightening but empowering so children know what to do in an emergency.

We are going to practice what to do if our fire alarm ever sounds during that day. You don’t have to worry, there is not a fire now, but we are going to practice. In a few minutes, you will hear the siren and it will be very loud. When you hear the siren, go quickly to the side of the room and get into a line.

Collaborate with families and caregivers.

Work closely with families to understand the child’s background, any specific fears or triggers, and strategies that work well at home. This collaboration can ensure consistency and a deeper understanding of each child’s needs.

Let’s call your grandmother to tell her about your good morning painting with your friend. I think she was right, when you have a morning snack, you feel better.

By implementing these strategies, early childhood educators can create a secure, stable foundation, allowing children to explore, learn, and grow confidently.

Download the free resource below to start building deeper connections with the children in your care!