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Factors that Influence a Child’s Social and Emotional Well-Being

  • Positive, caring relationships in the early years are the 'building blocks' for social development.
    Relationships in the early years set the stage for all other relationships in a child’s life providing the foundation for social development.
  • Secure attachment to a loving caregiver sets the stage for healthy child development.
    A child who is securely attached is more self-confident and enthusiastic in exploring their environment and more competent in mastering new challenges. This exploration provides experiences that are important for development.
  • Consistent and responsive caregiving fosters security in a young child.
    A child’s primary caregiver plays a major role in socio-emotional development. Consistent and responsive caregiving (external link) fosters a sense of security in a young child promoting confident exploration of the surrounding environment.
  • A goodness of 'fit' matters.
    Inborn, biological traits determine whether a child is more likely to be adaptable, slow to warm or spirited. It is important for caregivers to understand their child’s natural strengths and challenges and adopt caregiving strategies that make the environment as supportive as possible for the unique temperament of their child.
  • Nurturing environments help to shape the developing brain.
    The early years are a critical time in brain development, and a supportive, stimulating and caring environment supports development and positive lifelong outcomes.
  • Play is the work of children. Learning happens through play.
    Play is the work of children. Play positively supports children’s social/emotional, physical, cognitive, language and literacy skills. It is essential to a child’s overall healthy development. Play has an essential role in building children’s resilience across adaptive systems – pleasure, emotion regulation, stress response systems, peer and place attachments, learning and creativity.
  • Toxic stress. Toxic stress interferes with healthy brain development.
    Stress in small doses in the context of a supportive environment is important for healthy development. However, ‘Toxic’, chronic stress can hinder development by interfering with the healthy development of the brain and a child’s ability to learn.
  • Resilient parents/caregivers raise resilient children. Resilient children are more likely to thrive.
    By learning to be positive, committed, and persevering, children (and adults) can increase resiliency. People who are more resilient are less likely to experience depression and anxiety, and more likely to have healthy relationships.
  • Children developing within the context of their culture.
    Culture defines a child’s overarching values, expectations, and behavioural norms providing the context for an individual child’s social and emotional development.
  • It takes a ‘team’ to raise a healthy child.
    Engaging parents as partners in their child’s education can lead to a greater understanding of a child’s needs and how they learn best.

Additional resources