This time of year, children are making their list for the newest gizmos and gadgets, toys and treats but what do children really need?
Love. Children need love. They need to know your love is unconditional. They need to see your face light up when they come into a room. This builds the foundation of their own self-worth and trust in relationships.
Respect. Children need respect. They need to know that their emotions, abilities, qualities and achievements are recognized and admired. They need to know they are accepted for who they are without judgement.
Open communication. Children need to engage in open communication with adults and peers. This is how they develop emotional and intellectual intelligence. Becoming a good communicator will lead to success in all areas of life. It helps build strong, committed relationships.
Time. Children need your undivided time. Throw out your over-scheduled activities and spend one-on-one quality time with your child. Have mother-child or father-child nights out to try new things together. Bonding early with a child will likely prevent struggles later in life.
Structure. Children need structure. Structure gives your child a sense of security as they learn to know what to expect. Even for those children who complain about schedules, they tend to thrive with structure in their daily routine. Point out your observations to your child so that they can have a clearer picture of how others see them. When children know what to expect, they do not suffer from worry and anxiety as much.
Boundaries. Children need boundaries. Boundaries teach your child self-control, social standards and provide safety lines for them. Setting boundaries will also help them get what they need and prevent others from taking advantage of them as they grow up.
Coping skills. Children need to be taught coping techniques and be encouraged to use these skills. Every day stress requires management. Children suffer from anxiety and depression many times because they lack these learned skills. Take the time to listen to their concerns and then help them think through the situation so they can learn to problem solve on their own. Teach relaxation techniques so they can grow into healthy, productive adults.
Inclusion. Children need to be included. They need to be a member of many groups. Seek out the groups that are important in your own life which may include family, school, sports teams, clubs and churches. Help your child find “their people”. They need groups where they feel like they “fit” and are celebrated for their unique qualities.
Coaches. Children need coaches and mentors. They need adult role models who can help them figure out life. They need people who they look up to and trust. Choose wisely who you allow to help mold your child. Surround your child with positive role models who will help guide them throughout the many stages in life.
Purpose. Children need to find their purpose. Everyone needs to feel their life is valuable and the job of a child is to learn what they have to offer. They must develop confidence in their uniqueness. They need to know that their life matters. We all need to be involved in something bigger than ourselves.