Your child needs you

Meeting your child’s needs Your child needs to feel your love. He needs to feel safe and secure.

Moms and Dads Children need to feel emotionally connected to their mothers and fathers. Dads can do everything that moms can do, except breastfeed!

Loving connection The moment your baby was born, you fell in love with him. Now your baby is a child. It’s just as important now for you and your child to feel that loving connection to each other.

You and your child feel this loving connection when you respond to his needs:
• when you hug him.
• when you talk to him lovingly.
• when you smile at him.
• when you look into his eyes.
• when he’s hungry and you give him something to eat.
• when mom continues to breastfeed him.
• when he’s tired or fussy, and you calm him.
• when he’s sad, and you comfort him.
• when he can count on you.

Your child feels loved:
• when you talk with him.
• when you play with him.
• when you sing to him.
• when you read to him.

You are also helping your child learn when you do these things.

Happy to be a parent! You feel good about being a parent:
• when you realize you are giving your child what he needs.
• when he smiles at you.
• when he talks with you.
• when you watch him grow and change.
• when you see he’s strong and healthy.

Breastfeeding You may decide to continue breastfeeding your child after he turns three. You will see that your child breastfeeds much less often than babies do.

The closeness of breastfeeding can help your child feel secure as he’s becoming more independent. And you can make breastfeeding a special time for yourself and your child.

Meeting your child’s needs Of course children need to eat, sleep and be warm. They have other types of needs too.

Giving your child a sense of security Your child will feel safe and secure when he can count on you to give him what he needs. He will feel safe when the people around him are calm, and there aren’t a lot of loud noises.

Paying attention to your child Your child wants and needs your attention. This makes him feel connected to you and loved.

Responding to your child Your child will feel loved:
• when he smiles at you and you smile back.
• when he talks to you and you talk to him.
• when he holds out his arms and you hug him.
• when he cries and you respond to him.

Holding your child Your child will feel loved, protected and secure when you hold him close. He will still want you to pick him up. He will become more independent as he grows. You can help him grow by responding to his need to stay close.

Smiling at your child Your child will know you’re happy with him when you smile at him.

Speaking with a loving voice Your child enjoys hearing your loving voice, and feels sad or even scared if your voice isn’t loving.

Showing child kindness You are kind to your child when you think about what he needs and help him. Is he too hot in that sweater? You can help him take it off. Did he fall down? You can help him get up and tell him you’re sorry he got hurt. (It’s OK for him to cry.)

Staying calm Your child needs you to stay calm. When you are calm, he can feel calm too.

Being patient Sometimes your child will do things you’d don’t like. He may cry a lot when you’re busy or tired. He may have a tantrum. He may spill his food. He may break something.

It is important to remember that children do these things. They are not being bad. They are just being children! Don’t punish your child. Try to stay patient.

Meeting your own needs You have needs too. You need to rest or sleep. You need time with friends and family members. You need time to be alone. You need to relax and to do something fun.

When you are having problems Sometimes family issues or your own personal problems may get in the way of caring for your child. You may find it more difficult to be patient or loving towards your child.

There’s help! If you are stressed:
• talk to family members and friends for support.
• try to be patient and loving towards your child, and yourself.
• reach out and find help. Call 211 for help.
• or talk to your WIC educator if your child is on WIC.

When you find ways to meet your own needs, it will be easier to be a kind, patient and loving parent.

Learn more here about raising a healthy child:
shots for your child>>
as your child grows >>
foods for your child >>
picky eaters>>
a child eating enough>>

Is your child on WIC? If you are a WIC mom or WIC dad, you can find many helpful services at your WIC center.

• You can talk with a WIC educator to learn more about what children do, feeding your child, your child’s growth, your child’s health and shots.
• You can ask for referrals to community services.
• You can take part in parent sessions with a WIC educator and other parents. There you can learn tips about your child’s behavior, her nutrition, healthy eating, and ways to avoid childhood obesity. There are other topics too.
• If you are breastfeeding, you can be a member of a breastfeeding support group and enjoy getting together with other breastfeeding moms.
• You can meet with a nutritionist at your WIC center if your child has a health challenge.
• You can receive helpful food checks for purchasing nutritious food for your child.

Our WIC staff The people who work at our WIC centers will be happy to provide additional information if you have questions.