Children have many needs but this article will outline some of the most basic needs that each and every child has. There is a big difference between what a child wants and what a child needs and many parents seem to confuse the two. In fact, many children want things that are not good for them at any given time. As parents it is our job to be sure that our children’s basic needs are met and that they are well cared for. Some people would argue that basic needs are as simple as food, water and shelter from the elements. However, when it comes to children their basic needs can be very complex. Children are products of their environment and therefore some of the basic needs that they have fall into the emotional and psychological category. If a child comes from an unstable home in which his or her needs were not met the result can be an ill adjusted adult who is angry at the world. Child neglect comes in many forms and is much more detailed then forgetting to feed your child dinner on occasion. Following are some of the most basic needs that every child has and should be met.
#1 Stable Living Environment
One of the most important needs that a child has is a stable living environment. While there are some families who are forced to move often, such as military families, it is ideal for a child to put down roots in one place. However, this is not the single most important factor in providing a stable living environment. A stable living environment is a peaceful and safe place that the child can call home. There are many situations which could cause a living environment to become unstable. For example, when there are marital problems that result in violence, yelling and chaos this makes for a very unstable setting. In addition, if a child is forced to move often due to financial constraints this can also cause a child to feel uneasy about the future. Many children act out with negative behaviors as a result of living in an unstable living environment. Whenever possible do your best to provide your children with a safe haven that they can call home.
#2 Proper Nutrition
Children would live on junk food and snacks if we allowed them to. This is one of the key differences in what children want and what they need. In order to grow and develop healthy bones children must be given a healthy and nutritious diet consisting off plenty of proteins, calcium, vitamins and minerals. In addition, children must drink plenty of water. Allowing your child to eat sweet snacks once in a while is fine but these should never become a staple. Parents should look for healthier choices when it comes to snacks such as carrot sticks dipped in ranch dressing or fresh fruits. Many children today suffer from what is called sub nutrition. Most people have heard of malnutrition but have no idea what sub nutrition means. This simply means that the child is given an adequate amount of food but the quality of food leaves a lot to be desired. For example, a child who lives on McDonald’s happy meals and candy bars is probably not having his or her nutritional needs met.
#3 Structured Discipline
Discipline they often think of spanking or some other form of punishment. However, discipline is much more in depth than that. Discipline means setting rules and sticking to them. A child who is receiving the appropriate amount of discipline will understand what consequences for actions means. For example, setting rules for your household and your children and not wavering from those rules for any reason is an excellent way to provide appropriate discipline. If you only discipline your child when you finally lose your temper and this will be counterproductive. In addition, you will be teaching your child that it is okay to act out in anger. This is why you must tell your child up front what is expected of him or her and exactly what consequences will result if his or her behavior is undesirable.
#4 Physical Exercise
Many children today are suffering from childhood obesity in most doctors blame this on technology and the advancements that have been made over the past several decades. One may ask how technology can have anything to do with childhood obesity but the answer is simple. Children are spending more time in their living rooms playing video games and playing on the computer than they are at doing anything else. If you look up and down your street in the afternoons chances are there will be less children running about and riding their bicycles then when you were a child. This has become a very sad part of reality for this generation. Children must be given an adequate amount of physical exercise every day in order to keep their heart healthy and prevent childhood obesity. In addition, a child who eats high-fat foods and does not receive enough physical exercise can develop problems with obesity later in life and into adulthood. Healthy muscles also rely on an adequate amount of physical activity.
Aside from the above mentioned needs, children also need love and support in order to grow into emotionally healthy human beings. There are many ways to abuse a child and do not make the mistake of thinking that just because you do not physically get your child that you are not abusive. If you are neglecting your child in any way and failing to provide any of your child’s basic needs that this is also a form of abuse. Children are very resilient and no matter what type of environment they grow up and they will almost always forgive their parents for anything so do not count on your child to tell you when you are not meeting his or her needs. It is up to you as a parent to understand what it is that your child needs from you and to make sure that you provide it.
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