Secure Little Fortress

By: Erin R. Hennessy

During this pandemic, there is a global need to keep safe. While the adults are staying home as much as possible, wearing masks at the grocery store, washing hands frequently, and checking in on loved ones — kids are feeling it too. I recently came across an article describing the growing popularity of children building forts. I’m seeing this with the children I nanny for. Children have always loved to build forts – but it seems like they are doing it more often now.

The children I nanny for love to build forts. They build cave-like forts on their beds. Putting up a ring of pillows and hanging a blanket over them and their headboards, they created a space to crawl in and read or spend a little screen time. They utilize backs of couches and overturned kid-sized chairs and with the help of well-placed blankets, turn it into a cave for foxes. A place to read. A cocoon of adventure. A place where imagination begins. A safe space.

The feeling of “making a safe space” started with the adults, who keep everyone home, tell them to wash their hands. Work from home, only go out to the grocery store wearing masks. The kids followed suit. A fort is their own way of creating a safe space. The world has changed. Children can’t go to school, go to the playground, and see their friends often. Kids already have very little control over their environment, which is why allowing them choices as much as possible is important. But during a pandemic, when none of us know what’s going to happen in two weeks – creating a safe space to shelter is important.

When we feel safe and secure, we can continue to grow and flourish. We can use our imagination and creativity. We can laugh and joke, find humor in the situation. And eventually we’ll all come out of our safe little spaces. Our homes and our forts will become just that again. We’ll be able to greet the world feeling like we’re ready because we allowed ourselves the little comforts during the pandemic.

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