1. Children need to be listened to, really listened to every day. Read children’s behavior as language. Behavior will tell you every day what your child needs. Children can’t tell you with words what they need but will always tell you with their behavior and emotions.
2. Children need to know they are important. Every day they need to know they matter to you. Tell your children all the concrete things they do every day that please you - do you like how they brushed their hair, or how they made their bed, or how they are sitting at the table? Please see the positive in your child every day. It helps them feel good about themselves.
3. Children need to be touched every day. Hug, cuddle, hold hands, rub their backs. We are biological beings with a primary need for touch.
4. Children need to feel safe and secure every day. A structured routine and a predictable environment not only helps them to understand the world, it allows children to stay calm. Children learn more in a relaxed environment.
5. Give choices every day so children can feel empowered in their daily life. For children to learn how to make good choices in life, they need to practice with the little choices first. - “Do you want mommy to brush your teeth or you brush your teeth?” or “Do you want to play Candyland or Yahtzee?” or “Do you want to start your homework now or would you like a snack first?” Allow children to suffer the consequences of their poor choices. Have empathy when your child makes mistakes. Children need to know you are on their side.
6. Children need to feel that you belong together. They need to be ‘claimed’ by you. Children need to feel that there is a bond that will always and forever connect you. Stay connected when children need you the most. When they are distressed, angry or sad, don’t disconnect from your child because of their intense emotions.
7. Play with your child every day. When you play with kids it’s like bathing them in pleasure.
8. Allow children to make mistakes every day. Children need to know mistakes are okay. If you get mad because they make mistakes your children will start hiding their mistakes or lying about them. Instead, help children learn from their mistakes.
9. Help children find their island of mastery. Children are born with gifts of potential. Help them develop these gifts. Whether it is sports, drama, art, or academics children need to know that they are really good at something. Children need to be able to say, “I am really good at _____”. Help your child become proud of their accomplishments.
10. Children need you to be their emotional tutor. Show them every day how to express their feelings the right way. Teach your children to use their words and help them develop healthy outlets for angry feelings. Let kids know it is okay to feel sad sometimes. Children learn through imitation. You need to show them the way.