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The importance of proximity, protection, predictability, and play

Team StoryWeavers|October 13, 2021|

“There’s nothing like your mother’s sympathetic voice to make you want to burst into tears.”

Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic

One thing we as adults do on an everyday basis is to isolate our needs from our wants. As parents, differentiating what children want from you and what children need from you only gets harder.  Today, we will explore four innate needs of children. 

What do parents need to know about the four Ps of innate needs?

A book written by education experts Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker, titled Attached at the Heart, mentions four innate needs of children that parents need to invest in to raise secure, loving and, hence, successful adults. Though these are geared towards infants and toddlers, children of all age groups will benefit from these tips. 

They are as follows: 


It is soothing for an infant or even a child to find their parents physically around, as that meets their need for security and familiarity. These are essentially behaviours that help a child feel close to the parents, such as co-sleeping. 


Children need to be protected from different things such as danger, neglect, and other uncomfortable situations. This innate need is about being protected from harm’s way. 

Predictability of care

It requires parents to provide their children with predictable care.  It helps children build trust with their parents as they learn that their parents are there for them. 


Playing with children helps children form secure bonds with parents and stimulates learning. Playing is healthy for children and helps them deal with the stress. Parents need to find out how to play with children effectively. 

Proximity, protection, predictability of care and play help children understand the core values of life, such as trust, empathy, affection and joy. As we have discussed before in our posts on secure attachment and showing up, experiencing these behaviours during infancy and early childhood helps children develop into secure and loving individuals. 

Did you like this article? How do you ensure that your child’s emotional needs are met? Let us know in the comment section below. 


Nicholson, B., Parker, L. (2013). Attached at the Heart: Eight Proven Parenting Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children. United States: Health Communications, Incorporated.

About the Author

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Mekhala Joshi

“Me-kha-la!” That happens at least once when she introduces herself to new people. She’s the only ‘Mekhala’ she knows, and she takes a bit of pride in that. She is a quintessential introvert. Mekhala loves tea but cannot make a good cup of tea and often ends up having coffee. She claims that she takes all adjectives as compliments unless specified otherwise. Mekhala is an organizational psychologist and psychometrician. She was a class teacher of 36 adorable girls for two years, grade 2 & 3, as a part of Teach For India Fellowship. And has worked as an independent consultant for a couple of years.

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