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What are Small Moments?

Research shows that safe, stable and nurturing relationships and environments (#smallmoments) support optimal child development, have the potential to reduce child abuse and other forms of violence, to foster resilience among youth who have experienced trauma (CDC, 2014) and to prevent substance abuse behaviors in adolescence (NIDA, 2016). So what are safe, stable and nurturing relationships and environments and how can we increase them in our families and communities? The CDC breaks it down like this:


Safety means that we create families and communities where children grow up free from fear, and secure from physical or psychological harm.

  • For families, this means protecting our kids from experiencing or witnessing violence.

  • For communities, this means addressing safety in all of the places where our children are living, learning, playing and growing. Communities can work to ensure safe childcare and educational settings, neighborhoods that are free from discrimination, and healthy environmental conditions with safe housing, clean air and water.


Stability describes the degree of predictability and consistency in a child’s social, emotional and physical environment.

  • Within families, stability comes from the presence of reliable caregivers, regular routines, and consistent disciplinary consequences.

  • Within the community, stability relies on the availability of affordable housing, dependable transportation, food security and sustainable employment opportunities.


Nurturing describes the extent to which a parent or caregiver is available and able to sensitively and consistently respond to and meet the needs of their child.

  • For families, this means that children receive and witness nurturing behaviors among parents, caregivers, family members and peers.

  • Community members can help to support children and families by participating in the belief that we all contribute to the wellbeing of youth by advocating for public investment in quality childcare, great schools, and youth programs.

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