Understanding Childhood provides downloadable information leaflets for families and childcare professionals to help raise emotionally secure children.

What is ‘normal’ development? Each child’s situation is unique and there is no one ‘ideal’ environment that leads to normal healthy emotional development.  Children grow up to be healthy adults in all sorts of different situations – as an only child, in a one-parent family, in a large extended family, with two parents who both work full time, in a foster home or residential home. Family structures differ, both within and between cultures, and children develop healthily in many different environments.

  • One in five children experience emotional or behavioural difficulties in childhood.
  • Early intervention is vital to help families.

The early years of a child’s life present a unique opportunity to lay the foundation for healthy development. It is a time of great growth and of vulnerability. Research confirms that negative early experiences can impair children’s mental health and effect their cognitive, behavioural, social-emotional development(both as a child and as an adult).

These popular and well-regarded leaflets cover children’s emotional development from birth to adulthood. They were written by experienced child and adolescent psychotherapists for the Child Psychotherapy Trust (CPT). The leaflets are widely used by families, health visitors, Sure Starts and other child and family practitioners. They are useful in training and parenting education. Evaluation shows that the leaflets provide helpful insights into the emotional development of children.

Understanding Childhood leaflets can be viewed and downloaded using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

For information on child mental health see Young Minds. For information on child and adolescent psychotherapy see Association of Child Psychotherapists.