The Importance of Family in Childhood Development

Human beings are biologically social. Because our DNA has wired us this way, babies and young children must be connected socially in healthy and beneficial ways. The social structure of the family is crucial to early childhood development.

Humans are social animals, and social structure plays an important role in their development. The first social interaction that takes place in a baby’s life is with his family only, or his immediate family is the first social group that a child may interact with. So, what role does a family play in a child’s development? Let’s take a look at how family interaction affects child development. 


Value systems are important in human development. Value systems provide young children with a road map to help them navigate interactions with others. Without value systems there would be no rules or regulations for human interactions and families and communities would not be safe or sustainable.

Young children start to learn their value systems from the family members they first interact with. As children grow older, they will start to learn value systems through other outlets, but during early childhood, the child will almost exclusively interact with only family members.

It is important that the family unit presents healthy values to young children that will aid them in interacting with others in a healthy and fair way.

Social Development

Another important aspect of family interaction is the social development that children experience. Before children begin to interact with the larger world, they will first interact with their families.

During this interaction, children will learn about social development and important social concepts such as sharing, working together, helping, protecting, and more. This social interaction will help the child start to develop a secure identity in the world. When children know that they are loved and protected within their family unit, it encourages them to interact with the rest of the world from a place of confidence.

Skill Development

Many skills will develop during interaction with family. These types of skills include:

  • Home living skills
  • Creative skills
  • Communication skills
  • Sympathy
  • Empathy
  • And more


A child’s sense of security will start to develop within their family interactions in early childhood. Here is where a child will learn that they are loved, and cared for and that their needs will be met. A secure child will be able to form normal, healthy social connections with others. They will be able to better regulate their emotions and learn patience while waiting for their needs to be met.

Insecurity in children often leads to a host of developmental and behavioral problems. Insecure children feel the need to always defend themselves and to seek out ways to fulfill their own needs as quickly as possible because they are not assured that caregivers will meet their needs. This can lead to a range of issues throughout life.