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.
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.
This video is just over ten 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.
Essential information on how you can support children's emotional wellbeing, ideal for members new to careers in childcare and early years.
Expectations of behaviour
Understand what challenging behaviour means in the context of child development and explore strategies to manage it, working in partnership with parents.
Raising developmental concerns with parents
Consider the defining stages of a child’s development and identify emotions involved in working with parents when you raise concerns.
Supporting children with speech, language and communication needs
Learn how children acquire language and explore why some children have speech, language and communication needs.
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
Jake & Tizzy boxset - Books 1 - 8
Explore the world of Jake and Tizzy in a series of story books produced by I CAN, the children’s communication charity. The books are based on everyday familiar situations and routines so that young children can relate them to their own experiences. Jake & Tizzy books are a fun way to support language development at pre-school age, helping children to develop skills ready to start primary school.
The big hungry bear storysack
A Storysack® is a large cloth bag containing a quality child's picture book with supporting materials to stimulate reading activities. To bring the book to life, soft toys of the main characters, artefacts relating to items in the story, a non-fiction element relating to the fiction theme and a game based on the book are included. A guide and prompt suggest ways of developing listening, reading and writing skills using the contents of the Storysack®.
Support for you
We all need a little help sometimes. Do you want to talk to like-minded childcare professionals who might be feeling the same as you? Talk online in our PACEY Local forum, and join a face-to-face group in your area.
Links to relevant organisations