To begin our Infant/Toddler Series, Parent PhD would like to share with you the principles we follow as caregivers of infants and toddlers. These principles have been developed by Dr. Jenn throughout her work with infants, toddlers and their very important caregivers. Because work with young children is ever-changing, these principles sometimes change or new ones are added on. This should remind us all that caregivers of young children learn something new everyday.
The amazing and brilliant (yes, we said brilliant) population of children ages 0-3 deserve care that is respectful, responsive and reciprocal (Gonzalez-Mena & Eyer, 2011). But in order for this to happen appropriately, the caregivers must not only understand the children in front of them, but also how to appropriately respond to and care for them. The path to this understanding begins with our principles. We’ll highlight these principles throughout the infant/toddler series.
Parent PhD’s Principles of Infant/Toddler Care:
1. Every experience can be a time for interaction with infants and toddlers.
- Talk to them about what you’re doing, seeing and experiencing. Show them how to do it. Ask them to tell you or show you what they are experiencing.
2. Spend time observing infants and toddlers.
- Watch their actions and listen to their verbalizations. Then respond to exactly what you observe (not what you interpret).
3. Learn how each individual child communicates so you can respond appropriately.
- Always talk to infants and toddlers like they are regular people (no baby talk!) and show your emotions so they learn what they look like.
4. Provide as many sensory experiences as possible.
- Infants and toddlers learn by touching, tasting, smelling, hearing and looking at things.
5. Let infants and toddlers work on solving their own problems.
- A little stress to figure something out is ok. Talk them through it if necessary. And be there to help if it is definitely needed.
6. Be consistent and reliable so you can build a trust with the infant/toddler.
- This trust is the backbone of their entire development. Comfort with those who care for them = comfort with themselves and the world.
7. Read to infants and toddlers everyday and as often as possible.
- These early literacy experiences have a profound effect on their knowledge, language and overall ability to communicate effectively.
Gonzalez-Mena, J., & Eyer, D. W. (2011). Infants, toddlers, and caregivers: A curriculum of respectful, responsive care and education (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.