Needs of All Children

Needs of All Children {and all humans}*
by Nancy Winans
copyright October, 2009

What children need:

1. Physical needs met: healthy food, shelter, medical care, rest, play and exercise,  physical closeness, balanced sensory stimulation, mobility access, safe environment, and opportunity to heal (or rest) from exertion, disease and injury

2. Primary adult caregiver: who is a loving, emotionally healthy model, able to pay attention to the child’s needs, and one who can safeguard the child

3. Accurate information: provided when developmentally appropriate

4. Structure, consistency and accommodation: opportunity to: experience repetition, establish routines, process information at own rate, have time to adapt to new situations, have clear understanding of policies for behavior and the opportunity to practice expected behavior, and live without too much change too often, (thresholds vary)

5. Support for the family (which includes support from government, society, family, friends, or others): for parents’ needs (supportive services, good wages, adequate nutritional food, housing and transportation, access to medical care, non-oppressive  institutions, and emotional support)

6. A chance to discharge and express emotions: freely with someone who has developed a trusting relationship with the child and guidance to work through challenges

7. A chance to thrive and grow: opportunities for: intellectual stimulation and practice, learning in a non-oppressive environment, supportive guidance for purposeful and zestful activities and creative expression, and encouragement and support to thrive and grow

8. To be seen as completely human: deserving of life and love, with special needs and individual variations acknowledged, accepted, appreciated, and attended to

9.  To feel special: recognized and cherished for who we are (our abilities, as well as struggles) to be needed and valued by a group, and the opportunity to participate in making decisions and choices about our life and groups

10. Feeling of connection: to a caregiver, community, culture and heritage, nature, and/or spiritual source

11. Environment free of violence and fear-creating situations: (whether experienced first hand, witnessed, heard about, or represented in media) – not being a target of emotional, sexual, or physical abuse or subjected to neglect, hatred, bullying or oppressive conditions

* This is an ideal list of what we can strive to provide to our children in order to give them the chance to thrive and learn, but remember that our world is complex and we are human; therefore we may need the help of others to do this!