Caring for children: Meeting basic needs is not enough

24 November 2020

Caring for Children. Illustration by kurzgesagt
A five-minute animated explainer video

Scientists have identified two ways in which caregivers can support healthy development in children: by providing cognitive and emotional input. Cognitive input, such as exposure to words, music and puzzles, promotes the ability to learn. Emotional input, like hugs and praise, fosters a nurturing and supportive relationship between child and caregiver. If one type of input or the other is lacking, it hampers the child’s development.

Fortunately, this does not mean parents have to spend every waking minute with their child. Indeed, research has shown that children can thrive when they have more than one trusted caregiver. Much better than a stressed-out stay-at-home parent is a rested parent who shares childcare responsibilities with others.

And it is also perfectly normal to make mistakes as a parent, which can even provide a teaching opportunity: Honestly acknowledging a parenting error conveys a message to children that they are not themselves “bad” or to blame for their parents’ behavior, and fosters trust between parents and children.

Watch the video to learn more.


Video produced by kurzgesagt for BOLD – Blog on Learning and Development.

Script by Kathryn L. Humphreys and Pia Viviani/catta gmbh.

Powered by the Jacobs Foundation.

Keep up to date with the BOLD newsletter