The All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood has published a new report, Wellbeing and Nurture: Physical and Emotional Security in Childhood.
As we begin to ease out of lockdown, there needs to be a greater focus on children’s physical and emotional wellbeing. The group highlights that basic human contact is absolutely crucial for a child’s development. Of course, in many social circles human contact has been stopped to protect as many people as possible from contacting and transmitting Covid-19. However, touch allows children to feel secure and safe and leads to positive growth.
Covid-19 has completely shifted society’s normal routines and the saying ‘you don’t miss something until its gone’ has never been more true.
APPG Chair, Steve McCabe MP said:
‘The physical and emotional wellbeing of children matters so much because our future society depends on it. We have all undergone devastating experiences of social isolation during the pandemic, but the priority now is to look forward. Years of the ‘me’ society’ could not save us from Covid-19.
‘Now, acting together, we must optimise the emotional and physical wellbeing of every child so that we re-learn how to look out for each other. By teaching children to connect, we will create families and communities that will be strong and healthy.’
The report recommendations include:
- Emotional Health and Wellbeing is incorporated into Initial Training and Continued Professional Development for all health and education professionals involved in care and advice to children and their parents/carers.
- Combatting the adverse impact on the mental health of children should be addressed immediately to help them out of isolation.
- Positive touch work to become an established part of the school curriculum; possibly as a component of PSHE.
- All therapeutic practitioners (and those who work therapeutically with children in other contexts) to be registered by a Government Approved Professional Standards Accredited Register.
- Department for Education through Ofsted to compile and cascade a compendium of best practice models and evaluations of affective touch strategies for classroom use.
- The four Children’s Commissioners to be involved in drawing up a set of agreed UK indicators for Emotional Health and Wellbeing to be incorporated into all statutory children’s developmental health assessment programmes.
APPG lead author, Helen Clark stated:
‘These recommendations are just some of the ways in which this Report argues that new ways of approaching child development and wellbeing can contribute to the re-making of society, bringing unity and community in place of division and isolation. We hope that it will be helpful in informing decision-making and commend it to policymakers.’