Parents can satisfy a child's craving for affection in meaningful ways.

Craving Affection During Childhood

by Joanna Ehlers

Affection is the practice of communicating love to a person. Affection can be given in kind words, thoughtful gifts and loving touches. The expression of affection may change as a child ages, and children require it at all stages of growth. Parents can satisfy a child's craving for affection in simple, meaningful ways that matter.

1. Hugs and Touch

From the moment they are born, children crave physical affection. Babies require a parent's touch to form a strong bond with them. Touch can soothe a baby and help promote healthy development. Toddlers enjoy hand-holding, which is a habit that may safeguard their well-being in public. Hugging and cuddling older children while reading or watching television enforces that same sense of well-being and security. Children who develop a sense of belonging with their family will continue to form healthy relationships outside the home, says the website Healthy Children.

2. Praise

Children have an innate desire to please their elders, according to the website Child Youth and Family. A child who is praised for a job well done develops a strong sense of self-worth, and continues to look for ways to feel good about themselves. Healthy Children suggests that parents reinforce positive actions by praising the action as soon as possible, so that the child connects the words with her activity. When children are praised with positive words for good deeds, they are less likely to seek attention for inappropriate or hurtful actions.

3. Time and Attention

Children need a relationship with their parents. A parent who invests time in their child and gives them undivided attention helps build a child's self-esteem, according to the website Kids Health. Taking time daily to play games, go for walks, read stories or work on projects together strengthens a bond that a parent forms with their child. This positive interaction can begin with a newborn, as the parent sings songs and plays simple games with the baby. Children who interact with their parents will develop a sense of belonging and acceptance within their family.

4. Special Rewards

Children who are rewarded for good behavior may continue to strive for excellence. Rewards don't have to cost much money, says Child Youth and Family. A reward might be a special outing to a favorite park or beach, or starting a much-anticipated home project. The most important factor of a reward activity is that it is time that a parent can spend doing something fun with their child. Reinforcing positive behavior by rewarding a child will encourage the child to make good choices, and assure them of their parents' affection.

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