Early years emotional health

The early years have a huge role to play in creating a foundation for mental health in the future. Childcare professionals play a vital role in supporting children to develop the emotional and social skills that will serve them throughout their lives.

Here we highlight key resources that you can use to support the emotional needs of the children in your care.

Free members' resources

Children’s emotional needs

Explore the importance of supporting children’s emotional wellbeing in the early years, and develop a greater understanding of children’s thoughts and fostering emotions. Check out the reflective tasks and suggested resources to help.

Childline's Calm Zone Toolbox gives a range of activities and ideas to help children manage anxiety 

Role of the key person

Discover the importance of the key person, how you can be an effective key person and the responsibilities and skills required. 

Partnership with parents

Find out how to involve and work in partnership with parents in your setting with this handy factsheet. 

Managing feelings and behaviour

How can you encourage and support children’s development of managing feelings and behaviour? Discover how you can help the children in your care with this factsheet. 

The voice of the child

This practice guide, The voice of the child helps you to think about how you can listen to children, enabling them to be experts and leaders in their own learning.

Starting from children’s interests

This practice guide, Starting from Children's Interests, provides information about the value of settling children in; the role of the key person in building a positive relationship and using children’s interests to inform planning.

Transitions video

This video is just over 10 minutes long and explores transitions and how you, as a childcare professional, can support children through change such as starting a new childcare setting. After the video, reflect on your own practice with our helpful questions.

Partner resources

Open University - Early Childhood in Focus
Early Childhood in Focus is a series of publications produced by the Child and Youth Studies Group at the Open University, with support from the Bernard van Leer Foundation. The series has been edited by Martin Woodhead and John Oates and has been developed in consultation with world leaders in research, policy, advocacy and children's rights.

Below are the resources that are free to download:

  • The right to play
  • Healthy environments
  • Developing brains
  • Culture and learning
  • Supporting parenting
  • Effective early childhood programmes
  • Developing positive identities: diversity and young children
  • Early childhood and primary education: transitions in the lives of young children
  • Attachment relationships: quality of care for young children

MindEd and RCPCH

We've teamed up with the Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health and MindEd to create a new e-learning pathway designed especially for early years professionals like you. Discover tools to help you support children to keep well and happy at Minded.org.uk.


We’ve got a number of helpful blogs on our website written by industry experts, psychologists, practitioners and parents. They’re all packed full of useful tips, insightful experience and real-life stories that will help you develop your practice, inspire and educate. 

Children’s emotional wellbeing blogs

Emotional expression and language Amanda Baxter, I CAN

How does active music making support emotional wellbeing? - Harriet Thomas, Boogie Mites

Promoting healthy body image in the early years – Dr Virginia Lumsden, child psychologist

'I’m having a bad hair day' – how self talk develops and affects our self esteem – Amanda Baxter, I CAN

How play develops children’s emotional resilience – Dr Virginia Lumsden, child psychologist

Practitioners emotional wellbeing blogs

Do you need a new perspective?  Look at things differently with this motivational blog from Happiness Expert Andy Cope


Starting school: a developmental milestone for children and parents – Dr Virginia Lumsden, child psychologist

The big handover – a parents story of transition to school – Ester Radnor, Director of Mum Plus Business

Moving on, moving up: supporting transitions – Amanda Baxter, I CAN

School readiness, a whole child approach – Book Trust

Transitions in childcare, a 360 degree view – Dr Virginia Lumsden, child psychologist

Too much, too soon? Baseline testing – Dr Pam Jarvis

Links to relevant organisations