Abraham Maslow said humans have physiological, safety, belongingness and love, esteem, and self-actualization needs. These needs begin with infancy and continue through adulthood. Childhood then is a critical time for us all. This is the first in a series of posts in support of parents, grandparents, and educators as they travel the maze of life and education during the time of COVID-19.
In 1954 psychologist Abraham Maslow developed his theory of Hierarchy of Needs. This hierarchy is based on the assumption that human beings have basic needs. These needs expound upon each over time until self-actualization is reached. During a pandemic, we see our world a different place. The basic tenets of human nature and needs, however, remain the same. Needs being met allow optimal learning to take place.
It’s assumed that learning begins in the home, though over the years, changing social norms shifted much of early learning to begin in school settings. With the introduction of COVID-19 and little to no opportunity for educators to teach in normal school settings, it’s important for families to resume the role of understanding the basic needs of child growth and development inside and outside of the classroom and strive to meet them within the home.
When Maslow stated his theory, most families had two-parent households with one parent working and one at home. Over time, the steady rise of one-parent families and extended work hours placed a strain on the amount of time available to meet the needs of our children within the home. With COVID-19, the role of teaching and parenting has experienced a more drastic shift in which teacher and parent stress trickles down to child stress thus, hindering the motivation to learn.
According to Maslow, a child’s first need is physiological. Children need food, water, and a place to sleep. During COVID-19, it has become increasingly difficult for many families to provide these basic necessities. With rampant unemployment, food pantry supplies run short of heightened staples, and home evictions take place. It can be a nightmare to even think about providing physiological needs. A place to begin a search for assistance would be the website https://www.usa.gov. USA.gov provides an online guide to government information and services. Additional resources are made available through county, city, non-profit and religious organizations. If you have no online access to search for additional assistance sites, visit city or college libraries that offer free computer access.
For those families secure and families again secure in their abilities to meet the needs of food, water, and shelter, plan on scheduling consistent “together” times. Schedules reduce stress by eliminating chaos. Schedule anticipated times for work, play, eating, and sleeping. Working in a consistent way better enables optimal learning.
Make time to meet needs in a “family” way. Set the breakfast table the night before. Ask your child to help you plan the menu. Find time for a home-cooked evening meal together to discuss everyone’s daily questions, suggestions, or concerns. Provide a clean, restful sleep setting void of technological distractions at bedtime.
Next post in the series…Meeting a Child’s Safety Needs During COVID-19