Sometimes parents feel overwhelmed by what seem to be the almost endless needs of kids at home. In my book The Seven Secrets of Successful Parents, I give a finite checklist of a child’s twelve basic needs. If a child gets out of sorts, you can run down this list and see what’s missing. When you fix that item, it almost always improves behavior and everyone’s satisfaction.

The first and most important of physical needs is Sleep. Sleep is first because it is in deep sleep that your child’s renews their body, digestion, nerves, memory, immune system, hormones, muscles and everything else. Tired kids get easily cranky, uncooperative, inattentive, and unfocused, as do we adults as well. In contrast, well-rested kids can self-entertain, pay attention, learn, cooperate, and sustain interest. Kids today often don’t get enough sleep, doing homework, catching a school bus, or trying to grab a little time to themselves on screen or playing with the dog. As a parent, set a good sleep routine to give them at least 8 hours, preferably 9-10 hours. When they are home, let them sleep in, but remember this is no substitute for missed sleep other times. Be sure not to give them too much to worry about. If they are concerned about the Covid-19 virus problem, for example, know that they are aware of it and speak to them about it. Ask them what they are thinking and how they feel. Share your impressions and any actions you are taking. Do this always in age-appropriate language and in reassuring tones. Our children are supposed by nature to know that their parents are keeping them safe, so they can attend to learning, playing and growing. That way we help them to grow into emotionally strong and confident adults.
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