Nurturing care is crucial for young children to reach their full potential. It means providing a responsive, safe, and secure environment that ensures good health, adequate nutrition, and opportunities for early learning. Science tells us that emotionally supportive and responsive caregivers improve outcomes for children, e.g. improving the quality of interactions boost children’s early cognitive development.
Family-centred and supportive health care policies, programs, and services empower parents to provide nurturing care. Health professionals are seen as trusted practitioners. They have a vast potential to support holistic child development - going beyond the traditional focus on physical health towards supporting holistic child development and empowering parents and families to provide children with the best start in life. As a part of the routine maternal, newborn, and child health care services, health workers can effectively (i) build the skills and competencies of parents for nurturing care, (ii) monitor the development of the child, and (iii) identify environmental, relational or biological factors that may affect it, including parental mental health and wellbeing. Additionally, they can facilitate intersectoral cooperation in the best interest of children and families.