Sleep is an important need across all periods of the lifespan. Children in the middle age, 6-12, need sleep just as much as anything else. Poor sleep habits can lead to several health problems, such as obesity. Studies suggest children should be getting 9 to 11 hours of sleep at this age. Parents can help provide this by sticking to schedules and having strict bedtimes. Also important at this time is having a healthy diet. Children who get more nutrients will benefit emotionally and functionally. All the physiological needs at this age are important and children should be learning how to maintain these needs themselves. This picture shows a girl that is sleeping during school hours. Most likely this girl is not on a sleeping schedule at home and/or is not getting other physiological needs met, such as nutrients.
Filling middle age children's safety needs is a societal effort. The majority of people in society will take action to provide a safe environment for children. Ideally, all parents would provide the safety needs for their children. There are parents that fail to do this. Some parents do not provide a safe shelter, and some parents even abuse their children. Society attempts to help these children through education. Organizations and government agencies educate children, and the general public, about child abuse. These places raise awareness about symptoms and signs of child abuse. They encourage the public and the children to report suspected cases of abuse or neglect. The image is part of a campaign by one of these organizations encouraging people to report abuse. This is just one way society attempts to fill the safety needs of children.
Belonging and Love needs
Family is an important aspect of middle age children's lives. While the "nuclear family" model is on the decline, this does not lower the importance for children to feel a family bond. It is important that parents and children start a period of co-regulation during middle childhood. Parents will lay broad guidelines that will instruct the child on how they are expected to behave. Children are then left to control their behavior which will help them start meeting more needs without assistance from others. This image is of a family bonding over a card game. Many parents find it useful to set special time aside for "family time". This shows the children the importance of loving relationships with family and meet some of the needs for belonging and love.
Towards the end of this period, children around the age of twelve, are starting to really explore esteem and their needs. At 12, most children want to be respected by others. Some children are searching for ways to respect themselves at this point as well. This is the age where children are starting to notice things about themselves. They start to devise ways to improve aspects of their self esteem. In this picture, a 12 year old named Nathan, says that he is not happy about his appearance and wants to do something to improve it. He started running and exercising along with adopting a healthier diet and vows to get fit. (Nike made an ad based on Nathan click here to see the complete ad.) This is an example of a middle age child needing self esteem. While they most likely have not perfected the ability to fill this need, they are aware of it.
By the end of the middle age period, children start to grasp some of their capabilities. They have not done enough exploring of self to be able to fill the self-actualization need.., however, they are more self aware than the previous period. Many middle age children still try to do many things that surpass their abilities but are learning from their experiences. For example, they might think they should be able to golf with the adults even though they have never played golf before. Once they attempt to play the game they are quick to realize how difficult it is even though the adults make it look easy. They are now able to realize that it will take a lot of hard work to play with adults. They may start to practice in hopes of being able to get better. So they are not entirely aware of their limits but are better at recognizing once those limits are reached and capable of devising a plan to work towards increasing their limits. This image shows a 10 year old trying to improve his golf game..