This article argues the importance of ensuring initiatives aimed at improving children’s social and emotional well-being are based on sound participatory principles. The discussion posits links between the recognition of children, dialogic approaches to participation, changing conceptualisations of children and childhood, and children’s well-being. It explores these links in light of one particular initiative, Seasons for Growth (Graham, 1996, 2002, Seasons for Growth; Loss and Grief Education Program. MacKillop Foundation), an education programme built around emerging evidence that giving children a voice assists them to adapt to family change. The paper concludes with insights into what is involved when we locate notions of ‘having a say’ as a key element in promoting children’s well-being.© 2010 The Author(s). Journal compilation 2010 National Children’s Bureau and Blackwell Publishing Limited.