One- to three-year-old children's experience of subjective wellbeing in day care

Monica Seland*, Ellen Beate Hansen Sandseter, Åse Bratterud

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of the study on which this paper is based was to explore in which situations and contexts Norwegian 1-3-year-olds experience subjective wellbeing in day care. The data in this study was collected through qualitative phenomenological observations of 18 children, and an inductive process of analysis was conducted. The results show that 1-3-year-olds express clear wellbeing and pleasure when devoting themselves to social interaction and play, and exploration alone or with other children and staff members. Staff members creating an intersubjective space dominated by high sensitivity and responsivity is also an important factor for toddlers' wellbeing. Wellbeing is expressed in situations where the child is seen, understood and recognized as a subject with own intentions, needs and preferences, which may be understood as a relational way of participation in everyday life. This study may contribute to developing knowledge about the wellbeing of toddlers by listening to their voices, and enables a better understanding of the content of the wellbeing concept in an educational context for very young children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-83
Number of pages14
JournalContemporary Issues in Early Childhood
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Day care
  • Exploration
  • Play
  • Social relations
  • Wellbeing


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