7 Necessities Every Child Needs for a Healthy and Happy Life

Every child deserves the opportunity to grow up healthy, and happy, and reach their full potential. As parents and carers, we must provide children with the necessary building blocks that will set them up for success later in life. Here are some of the necessities every child needs for a healthy and happy life.

1. Establish Structure and Routine

Whether fostering from an agency like Fosterplus Glasgow or caring for a biological child, all children have necessities that must be met for them to thrive. One of these necessities is structure and routine. Children crave and require structure in their daily lives. Maintaining regular routines gives children a sense of control and order. Make sure to build in time for meals, schoolwork, play, and age-appropriate responsibilities. Being consistent with rules and discipline also provides stability.

2. Provide Abundant Love and Affection

Nothing can truly substitute for the emotional nourishment children receive from affection. Make sure to give plenty of genuine physical affection, praise, support, and quality one-on-one time tailored to each child’s love language. Prioritise bonding through conversation, shared activities, and family time. Children who feel cherished gain resilience, and self-esteem, and develop trust in others.

3. Facilitate Open Communication

Create an environment where children feel safe confiding worries, asking questions about life, and expressing emotions. Actively listen without judgement and ensure they know you are always available to talk about anything. Teaching children to identify and communicate their feelings healthily prevents issues down the road. 

4. Incorporate Play and Free-Time

Playing allows children to tap into their imaginations, explore interests, release energy, and bond with others. Ensure children have ample unstructured playtime every day to follow their creative whims. Monitor screen time and make sure technology does not dominate play. Provide various toys tailored to their developmental stage as well as safe outdoor spaces to exert energy. Independent exploration teaches children about themselves and the world.

5. Tailor Education and Discipline Styles

Get to know each child’s individual learning style, abilities, strengths and challenges to determine how to best support their education. Provide assistance completing homework, read together often, and communicate with teachers frequently. Implement fair, consistent discipline using methods appropriate for each child’s needs, avoiding overly permissive or strict approaches. Logic, natural consequences and addressing the root causes of behaviour serve children better than punishment.

6. Prioritise Healthy Nutrition and Sleep Habits 

Children’s growth and development rely heavily on receiving adequate nutritious foods and several hours of quality sleep per night. Make sure to provide balanced home-cooked meals, healthy snacks, and reasonable portion sizes. Have set bedtimes tailored to each child’s needs, ensure environments are optimised for sleep and utilise calming pre-bedtime routines.

7. Foster Self-Esteem and Confidence Building

A child’s perception of themselves impacts all aspects of their life. Reinforce strengths, celebrate small victories and focus criticism on behaviour rather than character. Explore their passions and talents to uncover personal attributes that contribute to a positive self-image. Instil the belief they deserve good things to counteract self-doubt. Confidence empowers children to achieve their dreams.

Raising healthy, well-adjusted children requires meeting basic physical and emotional needs tailored to each child’s unique requirements. While challenging at times, the effort we put into giving children what they need, whether as foster carers or parents, allows them to spread their wings and fly.