Child Well-Being

Child well-being is an important topic that can be impacted (positively or negatively) by the relationships and life experiences a child has.

Someone who shares my passion for supporting and enhancing child well-being is my friend Sarah. We completed teacher training together and she has years of experience in the profession working with children of all ages. Now re-training in child counselling with the University of East London/Place2Be, she has kindly agreed to answer some questions below to share her expertise in this area.

Photo by Ramin Talebi on Unsplash

Q : What does child ‘well-being’ mean to you?

Well-being encompasses physical, mental and emotional health and there are multiple aspects that contribute to these such as:

  • Having basic needs met throughout childhood/young adulthood (adequate food, clothing, shelter). 
  • Not being placed under undue stress that impacts negatively on education and life chances.
  • Feeling safe, secure and able to thrive in all aspects of life: e.g. education, sport, relationships.
  • Exposure to loving/supportive relationships that allow them to develop a secure attachment which will support future relationships with others. 
  • Having a secure base where emotions can be regulated – too much over-arousal can lead to high levels of stress, cortisol etc.
  • Being in an educational environment that enables them to develop their whole self. 
  • Having access to life chances and prospects. 

Q: Some common things that impact negatively on child well-being are…

  • Trauma, abuse, domestic violence, neglect, poverty, insecurity. 
  • Limited chances on building a secure attachment with a caring adult in early life. 
  • Stress at school from excessive pressure placed on them.
  • Bullying, peer pressure, social media, excessive use of devices, unhealthy lifestyle.
  • Lack of support from adults – lack of security and containment of emotions. 
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Q: Some common things that impact positively on child well-being are…

  • Feeling safe and secure at home and school. Knowing who to turn to if they have problems. 
  • Loving, secure, reliable relationships with trusted adults. Clear boundaries to support containment of emotions. 
  • Healthy diet/lifestyle.
  • Access to specialist services and supportive adults in times of trauma and distress e.g. mentors, counselling/therapists. 
  • Teachers providing consistency and positive relations supporting a feeling of security and containment. 
  • Building good relations with peers. 
  • Access to extra-curricular activities. 

Q: How could schools further support the well-being of children?

A school can play a crucial role in supporting children to feel safe and there are numerous practices they could enhance. 

  • Providing training for staff on attachment, containment and security. Class teachers need to know how to provide an environment that enables a child to feel safe and secure. This will open up opportunities for a child to develop further positive relationships later in life. 
  • Developing staff self-awareness of their impact on children.
  • Increasing children’s activity levels throughout the day, not just relying on sports lessons.  
  • Access to in-house mental health support such as mentors and counsellors to normalise talking to a supportive adult when needed. 
  • Quicker referrals to mental health support services/increased provision. 
Photo by Blaz Photo on Unsplash

Q: Suggestions for further reading on this topic include…

Axline, V. M. (1964). Dibs in search of self. Mansion.

Bowlby, J. (2012). A secure base. Routledge.

Geddes, H. (2006). Attachment in the classroom: The links between children’s early experience, emotional well-being and performance in school. Worth Publisher.

Gerhardt, S. (2014). Why love matters: How affection shapes a baby’s brain. Routledge.

2 thoughts on “Child Well-Being

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