Tag Archives: child care providers

Meeting an infant’s needs in a child care setting

During a coaching visit, I overheard an adult say as she picked up an infant, “I suppose you need to be spoiled today.” The caregiver had already fed and diapered the infant and every time she tried to put him down he would begin to fuss. What was he trying to tell her? He wanted to be held. Wanting to be held is highly associated with spoiling a baby, but this not the case. Being held is an important tool to help support and meet the needs of babies.

How does a child care provider learn how to mee the needs of an infant in their care?

How does a child care provider learn how to meet the needs of an infant in their care?

Love, attention, and interaction from parents and caregivers helps an infant develop a sense of self. When an infant is born, parents become attune with their baby and form an attachment. They develop a sense of what different cries mean and what their baby is trying to communicate. When a baby enters a group care setting, it is then up to the caregiver to learn what they can about the baby so they can in turn meet those needs. For example, this might include figuring out that a certain cry means he wants to be held.

Child care providers are part of the influences in an infants’ life. You are an important link in helping infants learn how to feel comfortable exploring their world. As you interact and form an attachment with an infant, they are learning! The give and take of coos, babbles, and the mimicking of facial expressions are early tools that teach infants about emotions such as happy, silly, and sad.

Consistency is the key when it comes to forming strong attachments and for infants to feel secure. There should be consistency in the way a child receives care, along with flexible daily schedules, primary caregiving, and appropriate expectations. They should be receiving the message that they are valuable and worthy of being in this world. As infants in your care grow into toddlers, their emotional development will be supported and they will learn to identify and express their feelings, develop self-awareness and self-regulation. They will be able to develop well socially as they learn about and relate to others around them. They will form empathy and learn how to solve conflicts and interact with peers and adults.

Infants are born ready to learn and become active explorers as they become mobile. In order for this to happen, they need to feel safe and secure in their environment. They also need for parents and caregivers to interact and engage with them. All of these things prime infants to learn about their spirit and help them to develop their sense of self as they grow. How can responding to the needs of an infant in this intentional way be spoiling a child?

The smell of change is in the air…

I have to say that fall is one of my favorite times of year. I enjoy the hustle and bustle of children headed back to school and participating in autumn-themed activities. I like the cooler temperatures and the changing leaves. There are smells and foods associated with fall and the changing seasons that just make me smile from the inside out. I truly welcome this change every year.

Embracing change in your ECE program

In addition to all of the typical changes associated with fall, there are also changes throughout the state of Ohio with Step Up To Quality.  The set up of the program standards document is different.  The terminology related to the rating system has changed.  The organizational systems used by many programs for years seems like it’s changing too. In Kentucky, there have been updates to licensing regulations as well. These changes seem to be causing confusion. No one seems to be smiling about these changes in the same way that a child might smile when they jump into a pile of crunchy leaves in the fall.

I want to encourage you to recognize that just like the physical changes that happen every fall, this type of change is good too. Even though we have to learn a new set of words and maybe even create some new systems to organize our paperwork, it’s all in the best interests of the children.  My hope is that as you take time to learn the different pieces associated with Step Up To Quality in Ohio and licensing regulations in Kentucky, you also take time to breathe and enjoy the good work that you are doing for the best interests of the children in your care.

When you face a challenge because of some of the changes that you see before you, please know that there are supports all around you.  At 4C for Children we have leadership networks and coaches who are able to answer questions and provide supports through these changes.  You can also reach out for support from friends and colleagues who are traveling this changing path with you. Accept the new systems and know that children will benefit. Most importantly, keep in mind the reason behind your work: the wonder in a child’s eyes as you teach him about what happens when summer turns into fall, and the smile on his face as he jumps into a pile of leaves and embraces the changing of seasons.


Sometimes we need to be selfish

I loved a recent blog on 4C’s blog for new parents, Put a Bib on it, “My Emotional Intelligence Could Use Some Work.” I think it contains an applicable lesson for child care providers as well as parents. Jillian is a first time mother who is going through the discoveries of infancy and toddlerhood right along with her child. In this blog she talks about her child being selfish. Yes, toddlers are selfish. But toddlers have an honest selfishness. Selfishness for toddlers is a survival mechanism.

What do you do if you feel overwhelmed? Ask for help!

Toddlers are still learning how to get their needs met. Actually, I would argue some toddlers are still learning what their needs are. As an adult, I’m still learning what my needs are, too. Young children do not have the vocabulary yet to explain exactly what they need or what they are feeling. Emotions may also be a foreign concept to young children. Goodness, even getting hungry and thirsty correct may be a challenge for children. So this selfish concept is a survival mechanism for young children. Grabbing the toy may be an unacceptable behavior, but it’s what the child knows to do to get needs met. Throwing the cup may not be what you want to see, but it’s what the child knows to do to say she is done with her cup. Saying your name over and over again is not something that adults like to hear, but it’s what the child knows to do to get our attention.

Is all this “selfish”?  I would contend no. Merriam-Webster defines selfish as : “having or showing concern only for yourself and not for the needs or feelings of other people.” Young children are learning that other people may not like what they like. They are learning that other people are in fact, other people.

Some of us have hidden guilt that prohibits us from getting our needs met. Maybe you feel selfish asking for help in your classroom when you are overwhelmed with work, but it’s okay to ask for help. I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and the outpouring of kindness from friends has been amazing. As an adult who is used to taking care of my own needs, it’s been hard accepting help. It’s been hard accepting meals. It’s been really hard admitting when I can’t do something. I feel selfish.

It may not be fair to compare my adult experience with Jillian’s daughter, but I can see some similarities. What I learned from Jillian’s blog is to appreciate a child’s ability to ask for help or understanding. When her daughter pulls glasses off of her face, she may mean, “I’m tired, hold me closer.” It may mean, “don’t touch me now, please.” Throwing her cup on the floor may mean, “I’m not in the mood for milk today. Please give me water.”

I’m not suggesting that adults need to yank people’s glasses off or throw cups. I am suggesting that adults learn from how young children learn to ask for help. Whoever would have thought that young children would teach us how to be successful adults?

– Christine