Children's needs at different stages in life
From the moment I was born I needed you. If you hadn't made sure I was looked after I would not have survived. I couldn't do much, but everything I did, the sounds and movements I made, were for you. I was asking you to respond to me so that I could live.
I feel very scared if I get no response from you. When you look at me with love in your eyes I feel safe. Your voice helps me to feel safe. Being close to you helps me to feel safe.
Feeling safe with you fills my body with special chemicals that help my brain grow. The patterns that grow in my brain when you cuddle me mean that all my life I will be able to feel safe with other people too.
When I was born I had no way to calm myself down or to manage my feelings.
When I am stressed my body is full of chemicals that help me deal with whatever upsets me. These chemicals can be bad for the brain when I can't get stress under control.
My body works in step with yours. When you feel calm or happy your heart beats slower, your muscles relax – so do mine. When you feel calm and comfortable, so do I.
When you copy the expression on my face, this helps me to understand what I am feeling. Then I copy you and this builds connections in my brain that help me understand my feelings.
When you move I copy your movements. This helps my brain to grow connections that help me learn to manage my own body, and use my body to communicate with other people.
I need you to soothe me when I am upset, but I also need you to make life interesting for me. Toys are great, but the best toy in the world for me...is you!