Research confirms that a child's experience in the first three years of life shape its future - out of all proportion to the rest of childhood. A secure primary attachment relationship is the main protective factor due to the impact it has on the developing brain. When a child's first 3 years are right, it brings huge benefits not just for the child but for the whole of society.
Scientific research is convincing in its message that the first three years of life shape a child's physical, emotional and mental development – for good or bad – out of proportion to the rest of childhood. What About The Children? is a voice for children too young to speak out about their emotional needs themselves.
What About The Children? speaks out for the emotional needs of children under three who are too young to speak for themselves. We publish a monthly Blog and you can followed us on Twitter@WATCthechildren
Young children, who are nurtured, talked to and played with attentively by a constant, sensitive and responsive carer – most often, but not always, the mother – with other caring adults as secondary attachment figures, will almost invariably thrive.
We campaign to ensure children receive consistent, responsive loving care in their earliest years critical for optimum brain development and long term physical and mental health.
What About the Children? brings together academics and practitioners at its annual conference & bi ennnial Goodman lectures on a broad range of aspects of early child development. Past conference papers can be downloaded here.
What About the Children? searches out current scientific research in neuroscience, psychology, biology and the medical sciences, selecting research that provide new insights into early life experiences. We summarise these academic papers for the wider professional community and others interested in children's well being.
Our Research Summaries are grouped by the year the research was published.
The Importance of the emotional needs of babies debated in the House of Commons
Andrea Leadsom, MP South Northamptonshire said in her opening remarks in the debate, Early Years Family Support, in House of Commons this week that "there is now overwhelming evidence of the importance of the first 1001 critical days of a new baby's life in determining his or her lifelong physical and emotional wellbeing". The debate reported on the work of a cross-Whitehall inter-ministerial group, chaired by Andrea Leadsom at the request of the Prime Minister, Theresa May, to look specifically at how the
Government can best improve support in the earliest years for families and their newborn babies.
Lucy Powell, MP Manchester Central said in the debate, "We know what we need to do, but it needs proper funding, leadership and drive across Government through the country into places, homes and families" and Maria Miller, MP Basingstoke explained that "To get it right for babies, we need secure and stable families and parents before babies are born, as well as afterwards". Tim Loughton, MP
East Worthing and Shoreham said. "Adverse childhood experience has become more common parlance now. Essentially, it goes back to attachment and all the stuff that Bowlby was talking about, often as a lone voice, many decades ago. However, it is true that we can now relate it to many of the challenges that we see as individual MPs and the Government see, in relation to antisocial behaviour, mental health conditions. This is not just about deprivation, other families do need to be picked up too"
To read the full debate in Hansard go to http://bit.ly/32xi7D2
Dame Sarah Storey speaking about 'Being A Mum' at What About The Children?'s 2019 national conference
The Trustees are thrilled that Dame Sarah Storey Great Britain's most successful female Paralympian with 14 Gold, 8 Silver and 3 Bronze medals across 7 Paralympic Games has accepted their invitation to be a Patron .The invitation followed Dame Sarah Storey's address to What About The Chidlren?'s 2019 conference about 'Being Mum'. when she spoke about her decision to start a family. She knew that whilst continuing with her sporting endeavours she and husband Barney would put their children's needs first. She said "we are so aware that our children are only children for a fraction of their life and as parents we are privileged to guide them to being the happiest they can be whilst learning how to navigate the world". Summaries of all conference speakers are now available for download from the 2019 Conference Page: Dame Sarah Storey, Mary Gordon- Goodman Lecture, Dr Cheryll Adams, Dr Aric Sigman, Dr. Pam Jarvis
What About The Children? response to Ofsted Early Years Inspection Framework Handbook 2019 Consultation. April 2019
What About The Children? relies entirely on its supporters for funding and on the hard work of its committed volunteers.
Help us get the important message about emotional needs and early brain development out to even more people.
What About The Children?, a small national charity, brings together people from a range of backgrounds and expertise who have come together to campaign on behalf of the emotional needs of children too young to speak for themselves. The charity is independent with no political or religious affiliations.