Responsive Adults Promote Physical Well-Being

Young children depend on adults to provide for their physical well-being. Adults who care for children must be responsive and make the child’s needs a priority. Responsive adults create a positive environment, both physically and emotionally, that enables a child to relate to others and to explore in safety. Babies and young children should never be left unattended, or in the care of another child or an adult who cannot care for the child.

It is important that infants and toddlers have plenty of time to explore the world around them. The repeated experience of exploring in safe surroundings teaches young children that they are not likely to get hurt, that they can trust their caregivers to keep them safe, and that new experiences are enjoyable. If children do not have responsive caregivers who keep them safe, the developing brain will focus on survival and will have less opportunity to create and strengthen connections for higher-order skills like learning and developing relationships.

Responsive adults also provide a sense of security that is important for young children’s developing brains. Young children feel secure when they know that they can depend on adults to keep them safe and to comfort them when they are distressed. Adults create this sense of security by responding sensitively to young children, and by creating predictable routines for their lives. Having consistent routines like these is comforting, and helps form the foundation in the brain for skills such as emotional control and secure attachment.