by Jay Anderson
Such a simple question. But, think about it for a while. Where to start? Perhaps the answer is simple. Maybe. Perhaps it is complex. A comprehensive and detailed set of components, significant….what do you think?
Ok, so children need a few key things – food, sunlight, a home, safe place – their physical needs met. Is that the most important? Kids also need time to play, be creative, explore their world. Maybe, that’s the most important? There’s a big focus on “nature-play” and creativity. SO what about that then? Maybe its social connections – time with friends, interacting, communicating, learning…..did I say “learning”? Ah. Maybe kids need learning. Our country sends them to school at 4 years old. So that must be important right? Yes, knowledge – that’s it. Learn to read, write, learn a language early, do your NAPLAN, your TSC, your HSC etc. That’s it? Right?
What about family? Anyone can raise a child, right? Don’t need a mum or a dad these days, many children have parents who are separated. Kids spend the night here. A night there. A week here. A week there. Other children are with foster carers or extended family. Stable, safe home, consistent routines……..Is that what children need?
Perhaps it’s culture. Yes, children need traditions, history, connection, beliefs and values. Here in Australia, we are so multicultural. Dad’s from here, mum’s from there – so where I am from? What does it mean really? What do children need? Do they need rites of passage, role-models, stories, tangible things? Children need to belong. To feel connected, to be a part of something. To be accepted and valued.
But what do children really, really need? Do they need sunlight? Physical activity? Vitamins? A lot of healthy things to eat? Yes, that’s it – children need “2 fruit and 5 vegs”, some carbs and protein – a balance of things……oh some say, children, need McDonalds, KFC and fish and chips. Do they?
Ah, technology – surely children need ipads, phone and computers? Do children need games? The Fortnite……minecraft…….candycrush………do children need the intensity – the obsession – the repetition. Violence. Fantasy. Reality?
What do children really need?
They need……sleep. Yes. Free time. Yes. Parents who care. Friends who listen. Children need a healthy self-esteem. They don’t need bullies. Ridicule or hurt. Children need – respect. Care compassion.
What do children really need? And what affects that anyway?? A loving parent. A happy family. good friends? Respectful teachers.
Children need a good start in life too. Health and vitality. Pregnancy – developing the brain and body – birth. Breastfed, bottle-fed. Swaddled and wrapped. Co-sleeping or sleeping in a cot. Midwife or home birth or caesarean or birth in a hospital. Just what exactly do children need?
Children need germs, good bugs in the tummy. Eat the dirt. Lick the car. Get some probiotics in the mix. Children need pets. A dog – a cat. Maybe a guinea pig or a bird. Is that what children need? Smooches from Man’s best friend…
Maybe children need Adventure. A trip to the beach, to the park, the zoo. Plane travel. Holidays. Exploring the world. Surely children need that. Memories…..future planning – things to look forward to…..yes!! children need that.
Children need values. A guideline for how to treat others. Trust. Respect. Love. Children need role models. Good role models. What to do when you are angry. How to manage tricky feelings. What to do with sadness or worries. Children need someone to listen, someone to help with the regulation of feelings…
Children need time. Time with people who care about them. Time with people interested in them and their needs. Time with friends. Time to learn. Time to play. A bit of this….and a bit of that…..yes, a balance working together for total wellbeing.
So, children have many needs – and as I said last month “It’s important for children and their parents to respect and care for each other”. Ultimately if everyone did that, for all of their relationships – the world would be a much better place! Please contact me further if you would like any additional information.
You may also like to read: