Early Relational Health is the state of emotional well-being that grows from the positive emotional connection that babies and toddlers and their parents and caregivers experience with each other through everyday moments of caregiving and nurturing.
Why ERH Matters
Early Relational Health Core Story
One Message Unifying Many Voices
Why Does Emotional Connection Matter?
Emotional connection — which comes from strong, positive, and nurturing relationships and can be restored after challenges or adversities — is fundamental for young children’s growth and development.
How Does Early Relational Health Benefit the Whole Family?
Parents and extended family also experience joy, comfort, and meaning through positive activities like talking, playing, reading aloud, and singing together. These enduring relationships protect children and adults from the harmful effects of stress.
What is Getting in the Way?
All parents and caregivers know that positive connections with their children matter. However, social, racial, cultural, and economic injustices and challenges can overload families and communities, often taking a toll on parents/caregivers, young children, and their relational health. Because of barriers created by structural racism and a lack of policies designed to help families thrive, families do not have access to supports that are responsive to their needs.
What Must We Do?
To promote Early Relational Health in every community, we need to first listen to families to understand the challenges they are facing and what supports and services would work best for them.
We must then work together with families to create a shared vision to transform our communities, systems, programs, and policies, so that each and every family can experience the emotional well-being and joy that develop during those first days, months, and years of connecting and nurturing.
Equity: The Early Relational Health Mandate
Families Leading the Way to Advance Early Relational Health
Nurture Connection is guided by the lived experiences of families. Parents and caregivers are the experts for helping create healthier communities, one family at a time.