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What Young Children need from Parents

Parents need to engage in children’s deepest emotional experiences and give value to them.


The needs of young children can often be overlooked by adults. However, children are like sponges often absorbing all that is happening around them. In fact, childhood is a crucial stage of development. Between birth and 5 years of age, their brain architecture is being shaped. Their experiences will mould and lay the foundations for how they will turn out as adults. For example whether they will be confident or anxious adults or if they will become problem solvers and creative.

So what can parents do to support their young children?

The most important tool that children need from adults is an emotional connectedness. The quality of the parent- child relationship and the interpersonal skills shared between them is crucial. Nurture your relationship with your child. Have fun with him/ her. Be playful and childlike with them. Talk with them about all interesting and silly stuff that is part of your child’s daily life.

It is important to not cast your shadow on them. You need to suspend your pre conceived expectations, assumptions and judgements on what what your child should do and not do.

Be mindful of your language with your child.

Research shows that over 80 percent of language used by adults is the language of command. “Pick up your toys”, “clean your hands”, “wear your shoes “etc… instead adults need to use language of information. Simply say “toys go on the shelf” or “we need clean hands before we eat”.

Talk and have conversations with your child. Your conversational quality is the process through which your children will process their understanding and their thinking. Their attempts at communication are a window into their understanding and making sense and meaning of their world. Explain everyday happenings to them and practice active listening. You will learn a lot about your child. The overall language development of your child is directly linked to his/ her later acquisition of reading and writing skills because listening, talking, reading and writing happen together. A child who comes from a home where he has been spoken to and heard and participated in lots of conversations will be a better reader and writer.

Parents need to engage in children’s deepest emotional experiences and give value to them after all they are no less human than us adults.

As an early childhood educator I have had the privilege of being invited into the world of children and it is pure, unadulterated joy!

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