COPE CopeLine Supervisor

September 2019

Your Wellness & Work-Life Newsletter

Your Child's Needs As They Grow


Children acquire many skills as they grow. Some skills depend mainly on the level of physical and neurological maturity. Others, such as behaving appropriately at home and in school, are the result of the interaction between the child's physical and intellectual (cognitive) development, health, temperament, and relationship with parents, teachers, and caregivers. Affection and attention, opportunities for physical and mental growth, and a healthy, safe environment are critical to a child's development.

The following are some general guidelines for different age groups. Since you know your child's personality and preferences the best, develop questions of your own to address your particular circumstances.

Baby's Needs (0 - 18 months)

  • Nurturing and love
  • Adequate individual attention from a familiar and consistent caregiver
  • Routines that can be adapted to your baby's needs
  • Opportunity for exploration and learning (activities so that babies aren't left alone in cribs for long periods of time)
  • Clean environment (i.e. diapering and eating areas are separate)
  • Safe environment, including "baby safe" toys

Ask Yourself:

  • How would you manage a child who cried continuously?
  • At what age do you think discipline should begin?
  • What kind of discipline would you use with children the age of my child?

Young Children's Needs (18 months - 5 years)

  • Adequate adult guidance
  • Activities to stimulate creativity and build self-esteem
  • Routines that build a sense of security
  • Other children to play with
  • Safe, clean, pleasant environment indoors and outdoors

Ask Yourself:

  • What kinds of meals do you provide?
  • What activities do you provide for children this age?
  • How do you handle toilet training?
  • What do you do if a child is angry and behaving aggressively?

Older children (school children ages 5 - 11)

  • Age appropriate learning opportunities during vacations and after school
  • Other children of the same age
  • Adequate adult leadership and oversight
  • Space enough for active sports and games

Ask Yourself:

  • Who will direct the program? Who are the other caregivers?
  • What activities are planned?
  • How do children travel between school and child care?
  • Do you offer care during school holidays?
  • How could you help if your child is having trouble with homework?
  • What would you do if your child was ill or injured?
Written by:
Michele Ginnerty, M.S.
Marta McKinnon, M. Ed., LPC, CEAP
Nancy Bowes Kinney, MSW, CEAP

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