What Kids Need Most

The longer I’m a mom, the more convinced I am my kids need half of what I give them. I’m good at offering loads of advice, putting up boundaries and plenty of expectations.

Our world has convinced us they need more stuff, if we could just give them more and more. They need the best schools, activities to fill every hour, the best chance in life to be successful. And mainly, we need to help them conform to the world in the way they dress and act. Be safe, be like everyone else.

Don’t stand out or up. Don’t draw attention to yourself. Don’t be different.


I think they need far less from us. Kids need us to:

1. Listen

By nature, parents are fixers. We make calls, rule our to do lists and get things done. But often, our kids just need us to stop what we’re doing and listen.

2. Provide Security

The world-school, society, even church put demands on our children. Our kids need a secure place they can be themselves, where they can let their hair down and still be loved and accepted–just the way they are.

3. Offer Affirmation

Kids need to be built up. Criticize less, affirm more. They are dreamers. They want the outlandish. The jump in the puddles on purpose! Sometimes we just need to encourage that wild adventure, the bravery to stand,  the courage to go against the flow. Be their biggest cheerleader!

4. Be present

Most importantly, they just need us to be there.

“Memo to Moms: Relax! Research shows that not every little thing you do impacts how your kids will turn out—just being there for them makes the biggest impact of all.” -Sharon Begley

It doesn’t cost a lot to be a good parent. They won’t remember the brand names or most of the friends they are trying to impress.

I fail. A lot. But I’m not aiming for what the world tells me my kids need. I’m shooting to give them these four things.

They will remember memories with you.

So, go make some!


  1. 1


    I only wish I would have had this advice or thought of it on my own while I raised my son as a single mother! Oh the mistakes I made! I can only hope that he and his wife don’t make the same mistakes and that my granddaughter grows up to be the most happy, healthy and confident woman she can be!
    Thanks for sharing this terrific advice! I’m not one to normally respond to articles or blogs but I wanted you to know this was very well received!
    Many thanks,

  2. 2


    I so agree with you! It’s been easier for me to back off and let them explore now that they’re a little older (6, 6 and 8). When I had three kids under 3, I was a mess. It’s nice to enjoy them now, listen, get down on the floor and play, be a kid myself, and see their little spirits shine.

  3. 3


    Your girls look so much like you and your son looks just like your husband. It is so funny how that works with some families and not others. My kids don’t look like either of us and we sit there for hours trying to figure it out. :-)

  4. 4


    This hit me to my very core. I am terrible at all of these things. Stopping what I am do, just being there, letting them be just the way they are…But why does it seem so hard to change these things? They are such simple things. I guess bad “habits” are hard to break. This is definitely not the way I thought I would be with my children…I think I am going to make this list into a printable and hang it up to remind myself of what my children really need.

  5. 6

    Heather says

    Wonderful reminder, Kristen. I am so bad at DOING all the time. I’m struggling with being still…whether it be with my children, before the Lord….whatever. I am constantly trying to DO and CONTROL. Thank you for the reminder of what my children really need from me.

  6. 7

    Hope says

    Such truth! Thank you for posting this and reminding us just how simple (yet not easy!) parenting can be. I am going to post these four words somewhere in my home so I keep remembering what is most important. Thank you!

  7. 13


    I have to agree with you. When I have had to clean my daughters room because she wouldn’t (and we removed 2 boxes of toys) so she was left with some toys, she was happy with out them. Kids don’t need a lot of ‘stuff’, they need attention, love, and security. Love this post!

  8. 14


    Thanks for your words! So true. I can tell you it is the same things we struggle with in Scandinavia… Found you through Pinterest, and I’ll be back to visit, since I see we share lots of things! Take care!!!

  9. 15


    BE PRESENT! Most of the children just want to be near their parents! To see that you are watching all their crazy new tricks and praising them for cool they are. At least this has been our experience so far with our 4 kids ages 9 and under. Be present and make those memories…unfortunately there are too many Dads lacking in this category in today’s society. This post is a great reminder that its not how many toys you buy or how many cool clothes you buy that earns your child’s love.

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