Helped, Heard, or Hugged?

There are so many ways to support a child in distress. You can give children a sense of control by offering three ways you may be able to help… and letting them choose.

When children are in distress, asking them the best way you can offer support can be a powerful strategy: “Do you want me to help you, hear you, or hug you?” After all, we all need different things at different times, and every child is different. Just like Grandma Nell, you can simply ask children what they need: 

  • Helped: Children may want concrete help solving a problem. 
  • Heard: Often, children just want to be listened to—to vent or talk through what’s going on. 
  • Hugged: Children may simply want some physical comfort! (Remind children that if a safe, trusted adult is not around, they can try giving themselves a hug.) 

You can also pose this similar question: “Do you want a pal (a friend to sit with you, listen, and be kind), a partner (someone to help you solve a problem), or privacy (some quiet time alone)?”