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.

3 comments

  1. This is a great article showing the positive and negative effects of childhood well-being! I think that many of these are in line with the levels described in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, especially the components of meeting the physiological needs of the children and ensuring that they are able to foster and maintain good relationships in their lives. They are basic needs of people in general, and anything that hinders this development can impact the child’s well-being. Feel free to take a look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which is briefly written about in my own blog and also widely available on the internet. Also feel free to leave any contributions to the content. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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