Children’s early experiences shape who they really are.  Their early life experiences have an effect on their health and learning abilities.

To develop to their full potential, children need safe and stable housing, adequate and nutritious food, access to medical care, secure relationships with adult caregivers, nurturing and responsive parenting, and high-quality learning opportunities at home, in child care settings, and in school. 

Children thrive in stable and nurturing environments where they have a routine and know what to expect. Although some change in children’s lives is normal and anticipated, sudden and dramatic disruptions can be extremely stressful and affect children’s feeling of security.

Common types of instability

-Economic Instability: a drop in family income from which families may or may not recover from

-Employment Instability

-Family Instability

-Residential Instability

Effects of instability in a child’s development 

 In addition to the social and emotional outcomes, some evidence suggests that children’s language and cognitive development may also be compromised by child care instability. 

Among young infants, certain forms of unstable child care are associated with poorer language development at 15 months of age.

There is less evidence of an impact of child care instability at later ages, and limited research explores instability among older school-age children. These findings highlight the urgency of identifying effective strategies for promoting the stability and continuity of care for young children.