How to Help Children Develop a Basic Attitude of Trust: 7 Steps
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Spend time with children every day to help build trust.

From age 2 to 5 as children get more mobile, they begin to explore their world more independently and assertively, according to developmental psychologist and Harvard and Yale professor Erik Erikson. It's critical during this time to encourage and support children to explore their world in a safe way. Parents must strike a delicate balance between protecting without overprotecting and giving feedback without criticizing. Treat your child in a consistent and reliable way to help him predict how his behaviors will affect others. If you are predictable, he will trust and rely upon you.


  1. 1
    Show affection, love and patience on a daily basis. Approach your child with a smile and soothing voice, which will reassure her that the world is a friendly place and she can trust you to meet her needs.
  2. 2
    Provide care in a consistent, regular, structured way. Stick to regular eating and sleeping schedules and follow a daily routine whenever possible to provide your child with a sense of security and trust.
  3. 3
    Show patience and understanding. A child between the ages of 2 and 5 struggles to understand how your own feelings, such as being tired, frustrated or angry, affect your behavior. Take a moment to get your own feelings under control before attending to the needs of your preschooler. Understand that he's not whining to annoy or manipulate you, but that he has a message he's trying to communicate.
  4. 4
    Watch for nonverbal cues from your child including facial expressions and body movements. Interpret these gestures as early signs that your preschooler is tired, cold or hungry and respond appropriately. Respond non-verbally, as well as verbally, by smiling, touching and speaking to him tenderly to maintain a strong bond of trust.
  5. 5
    Get enough sleep so you'll be able to approach your child in a patient, loving way. Being a parent involves a lot of overtime, so it's important to have other trusted caregivers assist you so you can get the rest you need.
  6. 6
    Take some time for yourself to refresh and renew your spirit and energy. Ask a trusted adult, such as your parents, grandparents or a qualified professional to watch your child for an hour or two while you take a break once or twice a week. You'll be refreshed and more ready to attend to your child's needs when you return.
  7. 7
    Listen when your child begins to talk and give her positive feedback. When she points to an object and correctly identifies it, smile, hug her and praise her to encourage her to explore the world around her.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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