What the research says about a whole child approach to parenting

June 6, 2022

Here at Earlybird we take a whole-child approach. A whole-child approach to parenting views a child's development holistically, considering not just their cognitive growth, but also their social-emotional and physical development. This approach recognizes that all aspects of their development are interconnected and important for the overall well-being of a child.

One benefit is that it can improve a child's academic achievement. A study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology found that children who received more holistic experiences, which included physical and social, and emotional learning, had higher academic achievement compared to those who received a more traditional education that focused solely on cognitive skills (Durlak et al., 2011).

Another benefit of a whole-child approach is that it can improve a child's mental health. A review of the literature on social and emotional learning found that exposing kids to these concepts early can reduce aggressive and disruptive behavior, as well as improve social skills, emotional regulation, and academic performance over the long term (Weissberg et al., 2003).

In addition, a whole-child approach can help children develop strong character. A study found that children who had parents (and educators) who invested in all areas of their development, including their social-emotional development, had higher levels of moral reasoning and self-control (Nucci, 2001).

Physical health is another important aspect of a child's development that can be improved through a whole-child approach. Encouraging children to engage in physical activity and making healthy choices about food and sleep can promote physical health and well-being (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018).

Overall, a whole-child approach to parenting can have numerous benefits for children's cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development. By considering all aspects of a child's development and providing a supportive and nurturing environment, parents can help their children thrive and reach their full potential.

Check out the activities, workshops, and articles on the Earlybird app for more easy ways to invest in your child’s development and ensure they’re set up to thrive. Download the *FREE* app in the Apple app or Google Play store. 


  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Children's physical activity. Retrieved from
  • Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students' social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405-432.
  • Nucci, L. P. (2001). Education in the moral domain. Cambridge University Press.
  • Weissberg, R. P., Kumpfer, K. L., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2003). Prevention that works for children and youth: An introduction. American Psychologist, 58(6-7), 425-432.

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