Building Assets for Young Children


In our last article we described the 8 different categories Support, Empowerment, Boundaries and Expectations, Constructive Use of Time, Commitment to Learning Positive Values, Social Competencies, and Positive Identity regarding the 40 Development Assets.


You can assist your child by building on assets by doing the following things at home.


Ways you can Support your child by age are:


Age 0 – 1:  Hold your children and interact with them while feeding them.

Age 1 – 2:  Delight in children’s discoveries about themselves, other people, and the

world.  Things such as seeing their shadow for the first time or the look on their face when blowing bubbles.

Age 3 – 5:  Find other caring adults to participate regularly in your child’s life.

Age 6 – 11: Answer your child’s questions.  This is how they will learn and expand their



Ways you can Empower your child by age are:


Age 0—1:  Always monitor children to keep them safe.

Age 1---2:  Show children positive alternatives to inappropriate behaviors.

Age 3---5:  Do simple acts of community service such as collection cans of food for a food bank.

Age 6---11: Ask children’s opinions about what they like and do not like in their daily routines. Make changes based on some of their ideas.


Ways you can set Boundaries and Expectations for your child by age are:


Age 0—1:  Understand that children at this age do not intentionally violate standards.

Age 1---2:  Give simple, understandable boundaries, such as “Don’t bite” or “Be quiet.”

Age 3—5:  Be calm when children act out in highly emotional ways.

Age 6—11: Be consistent with the consequences for violating boundaries.


Ways you can use Constructive Use of Time for your child by age are:


Age 0—1: Have babies and young children spend most of their time with their parents or one or two consistent caregivers.

Age 1—2: Balance stimulating, structured time with free playtime.

Age 3—5:  Introduce children to museums, children’s plays, and other events that welcome young children.

Age 6-11:  Teach children the skill of balancing their time so that they gradually learn how not to overbook or underbook their schedules.

Ways you can teach Commitment to Learning to your child by age are:


Age 0—1:  Sing and read to babies and toddlers daily.

Age 1—2: Talk about what you see whenever you are with a child and ask the child to talk about what he or she sees.

Age 3—5:  Encourage children to learn more about their interests.

Age 6-11:  Set up a place for children to do homework and set daily homework guidelines.


Ways you can teach Positive Values to your child by age are:


Age 0—1:  Respond to child’s cries immediately.

Age 1—2:  Interact with children’s in loving, respectful and caring ways.

Age 3—5:  Teach children how to care for a special toy, outfit, pet, plant, but do not let children care for pets entirely by themselves.

Age 6-11:  Answer accurately and simply children’s questions about sexuality and about alcohol and other drugs. Ask if they would like more information and respect their answers.


Ways you can encourage Social Competencies for your child by age are:


Age 0—1:  Encourage children to experiment with sounds and in touching new things.

Age 1—2:  Allow children to express all feelings, but give them guidelines on appropriate ways to act on them.

Age 3—5:  Have periodic family meetings where children have input and a voice in decision-making.


Ways you can help create a Positive Identity for your child by age are:


Age 0—1:  Delight in each child’s unique personality.

Age 1—2:  Dwell on what children do right instead of what they do wrong.

Age 3—5:  Teach children to begin to take pride in their cultural heritage.

Age 6-11:  Encourage children to seek out answers and solutions when they face obstacles or difficult times.


For more information about asset building and Healthy Communities/Healthy Youth, contact Lori Johnson, Tama County Empowerment Coordinator, Tama County Public Health and Home Care, at (641) 484-4788 or 1-866-484-4788.