In our consumer-centric culture, we may be missing out on what our children truly need. Clothing, toys, and entertainment are all well-appreciated by children, but these fall under wants and not needs when it comes to raising happy, healthy kids.
The first several years of a child’s life are among the most important years, because this is when the child’s foundation is established. Parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers have the amazing opportunity to help children develop healthy habits that can last a lifetime.
Requirements for Raising Healthy Children
Let’s talk about some of the most important things children need in order to be well-prepared for adulthood:
Physical and Emotional Security
Kids need to feel secure with their primary caregivers as well as their environment. This is a basic survival need that includes food and shelter. Children also need to be kept safe and secure by those entrusted with their care – children should not be worrying about risk and danger.
Security is not just physical but also emotional. Children need responsive care from their parents and caregivers with as much consistency as possible. Without feeling secure, children are not able to develop a healthy sense of self, which can last well into adulthood and can hinder them from living up to their potential.
A Stable Home Life
Maintaining a stable environment at home can have an empowering effect on a child’s physical and emotional development. Instability can cause stress to a child, and it can actually affect the child’s immune system and leave them vulnerable to chronic health conditions.
Stability at home provides them with a solid sense of belonging and being loved, which contributes to their own emotional stability and their ability to get along with others. A lack of stability in the home will threaten a child’s feeling of security and confidence.
Consistent Care and Affection
Children need consistent care and personal attention. They need to be able to predict how their parents and caregivers will react to things.
In the home setting, consistency is required for consistency in values. Caring for children also includes establishing boundaries and standards of behavior, and consequences of breaking those boundaries.
Love and Emotional Support
We love our children, and do not withhold love and affection from your child when they do something wrong. You can get angry briefly and mete out discipline, but get over it quickly and get back to normal. Do not hold a grudge against your child. Your child will learn the lesson and will know that you still love them.
A child needs a listening ear, positive words, reaffirmations of love, and interaction to build their sense of self and to develop healthy self-esteem. Remember that as parents, you are the main role model.
Pediatricians in Newburyport, MA
Our skilled medical team here at Children’s Health Care recognize that each child has specific needs. Our well-trained and highly experienced staff know how to care for children at every stage while they’re growing up.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with a member of our medical staff, contact our Newburyport office today at (978) 465-7121 or our Haverhill office at (978) 373-6557. We are also open on weekends and holidays, because we know that kids can get sick or hurt anytime. We look forward to taking care of your children and keeping everyone happy and healthy!