The Four Essentials Every Child Needs to Be Healthy and Happy

Ever wonder how some parents manage to get it all right? Their kids are courteous and patient, they take turns and share with others, they say please and thank you AND they sleep through the night after eating all of their dinner... they even pick up their toys.
It would be most comforting to think that these children are a freak of nature, a miraculous hybrid creation determined by the perfect coupling of genetics.
Whilst I am sure there are some behaviors predetermined in children, the bulk of it does surely sit squarely on our own shoulders.

Before you get down on yourself, check the facts.
The majority of mums and dads are tearing their hair out just trying to get this parenting gig right. Want proof? Type almost any behavioral problem into your search engine and you will find dozens, if not hundreds of results.
What does that tell you? That the problem is common enough to be documented over and over again. It tells you that enough people have experienced difficulty with this same issue for someone to seek out a solution.

Comforted? I am!
Although I do not like to think of anyone else's stress as a form of comfort to me, I do feel relieved that I am not the only one.
Another comfort is that if you speak to the parents of the above mentioned 'angels', chances are you will find out that they too have a wild side reserved only for their parents.
Summarizing every child into a single category is virtually impossible. Advice will vary and you will always need to improvise to suit your own child's needs. However, there are certain basic needs that every child must have met in order to live a happy healthy life.

Food and water - Vital for survival, over 1/3 of childhood deaths world wide are linked with malnutrition.
Thankfully in our modern society this number is greatly reduced and our most precious recourse, clean water, is readily available and extremely cheap.

Protection - Not a small task for the parents of under fives. They need protection from the elements, their own environment, people and animals who may pose a threat and last but definitely not least, protection from themselves.
Injury from accidents is the highest cause of death for under fives living in modern society and amongst the top ten, influenza and pneumonia.
Vigilance and a  dry, warm environment are the place to start.

Security - You may think we just covered this topic but for children, security is something so much simpler than what our adult minds perceive it to be.
Security is Trust in it's rawest form, strengthened by consistency and sealed with honesty.
Children have no understanding of the complex material world but are very good at recognizing even the slightest changes in your moods and behaviors. Rewarding this intuition with simple explanation and reassurance can assist your child in accepting these changes.

Love - Well of course I had to add this one!
If we learn what we live then a child who does not receive love will become incapable of experiencing and seeking out real love.
A hug sends a very powerful message to your child, in this one action you are able to tell your little one that you embrace all of what they are.
The love of parent should be unconditional and apparent, regardless of any other negative emotion we may experience from time to time.
This love is what drives you to provide for and nurture your child the best possible way you can and it is the key building block for a happy, healthy childhood.

In short, if you can keep your child safe, warm, feed them and give them positive emotions, you have mastered the basics of parenting.

I know I still have a way to go with consistency. Is there an area you know you need to work on? How do you set out to improve your own parenting skills?

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