Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology that argues that there are five stages of human needs that motivate our behavior.
While he didn’t write the theory for young children, they may still be true, even for the little ones.
First, Your Child has physiological needs, such as the need to breathe, eat, drink, or sleep. The moment children get enough of that, they are motivated by the next thing.
Need for safety
Now they want safety. Your Child may try to look for you or other adults that provides comfort and protects the little one against possible dangers.
Need for belonging
At stage three children seek love and belonging. They desire to be close to family and friends, and later join other children at kindergarten. This need to belong and not be excluded becomes more prone at age three.
Need for esteem
At stage four we look for esteem, self-confidence and respect. We want to be someone. Motivation to perform and compete is now at its highest. Students, sportsmen, and inventors excel — Neil Armstrong even flew to the moon.
Need for self-actualization
Only if we breathe, and drink and eat and sleep enough and we feel safe and part of a group and still special, only then can we reach level five: self-actualization. Now, we can relax, be creative, accept facts for what they are, give back, or do whatever we want. No more pressure, unless of course there is trouble below.
If you are a parent and believe in the theory, use it. First make sure your child has eaten well. Then, make your child feel safe and help them belong to a group. Once they feel they belong, they are ready to stand out and excel.
Abraham Maslow proposed his theory in 1943 after studying what he called exemplary people, such as Albert Einstein or Eleanor Roosevelt.