February 9, 2017
1. The conditions to learn and develop
Children need to be given the conditions to learn and develop. This includes cognitive and emotional development, fostered through access to play in the early years and high quality education in school, and physical development, for example through a nutritious diet. School is a key area of children’s lives where experiences vary greatly and negative experiences have a significant impact on well-being.
2. A positive view of themselves and an identity that is respected
Children need to see themselves in a positive light, and deserve to feel, and be, respected by all adults and other children. Our evidence shows that how children feel about their appearance, whether they are being bullied, and whether they believe that their voice is being heard and opinions respected, are key drivers of their well-being
3. Have enough of what matters
Children’s well-being is affected by ‘having enough’ and ‘fitting in’ rather than being rich or accumulating material goods purely for its own sake. Family circumstances, household income, and parental employment are key factors which determine whether children have access to those items and experiences.
4. Have positive relationships with family and friends
Children want and need positive, loving relationships with the people closest to them. Overall, the strongest driver of low subjective well-being is where children experience weak and uncaring relationships with their family or carer. The structure of the family itself has only a small effect on a child’s well-being. Children also need positive, stable, relationships with their friends, with social isolation a strong driver of low levels of well-being.
5. A safe and suitable home environment and local area
Children need safe and suitable environments at home and in their local area. Where children are unhappy in these environments, often through feeling unsafe, feeling that they have a lack of privacy, or feeling that their home or local area has inadequate facilities, this has a strong association with lower levels of well-being.
6. Opportunity to take part in positive activities to thrive
A healthy balance of time use is as important for children as it is for adults. The need for a balance that suits the individual needs of children means that they should be actively involved in decisions about how they spend their time.