Chazan-Cohen, R., Zaslow, M., Raikes, H. H., Elicker, J., Paulsell, D., Dean, A., & Kriener-Althen, K. (March 2017). Working toward a definition of infant/toddler curricula: Intentionally furthering the development of individual children within responsive relationships. Brief prepared for the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families; or the U.S., Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/nitr_report_v09_final_b508.pdf
When communicating with parents, keep in mind that they want you to be on their team. They want to feel as though their child is valued and that you care about their child.
Watch the video below to learn more about parent communication:
In the morning, when a child is dropped off in your care, it is important to ask questions to best meet the infant’s needs. You will want to gather information about this morning’s feeding and sleeping and how the child is doing.
Remember that parents with infants are often new to child care and do not know what to expect or what information you need.
Additionally, some parents do not know what information goes home or how Dr. Day Care communicates with families. While we do record information about a child’s day, most parents do not need a piece of paper to go home with the child. At Dr. Day Care, we believe it is important to build relationships — and verbal communication between parents and teachers helps to build these relationships. If a parent requests that information is sent home on paper, you can quickly jot down a small note with the last feeding or diaper change, but the infant forms (such as Diaper or Feeding Logs) stay in the classroom binders. Explain to the parents that we keep these logs for the month, which helps us to see an overview of the whole child. Teachers should review these forms with parents as they discuss the child’s day. Reviewing these forms together will help with parent communication. This information is emailed to parents each day for centers that are using the Tadpoles app.
Some parents are looking for your guidance or advice on feeding, naps, developmental milestones, etc. This is a great opportunity for you to explain why we do things and to offer suggestions if needed. Sometimes a parent may ask a question that you don’t know the answer to or you don’t know how to answer. It is ok to tell a parent that you don’t know the answer- as long as you provide a suggestion for them! Offer to get one of the Administrators to answer their question or tell the parent that you will find the answer and get back to them. Make sure you follow up with them as soon as you do have an answer!
Most difficult situations arise from miscommunication and parents not feeling as though their child was cared for at school.
When parents pick up their child, it is important for you as a teacher to communicate effectively about the child’s day. Give specific information from the Infant Daily Log. By using positive, proactive statements, you can help ease a parent’s mind.
But most important is how you deliver this message- deliver information in a sensitive, kind manner. Reframe negative statements into positive statements – such as “she wouldn’t eat the cheerios you sent in” instead could be stated in a more positive way such as “she ate all of the applesauce at breakfast and tried a few of her cheerios”
Be sure to be mindful of “firsts” – the first time rolling over, first word, first steps, etc. Help parents discover their babies firsts at home with their child. Alert parents before these milestones occur- for example, when a baby is close to taking her first steps, make sure to tell the parents “It looks like she might take some steps this weekend!” so they can discover these milestones as a family.
Communicating with the teachers in your classroom throughout the day is essential and helps improve parent communication.
By using the Daily Report Classroom Communication Tool, all teachers should be able to answer the basic questions. Centers that utilize Tadpoles will have notes about the child’s day emailed directly to the parents.
By teachers and parents working together as a team, you will build stronger relationships.
Sometimes babies cry. Babies cry as a way to communicate their needs.
There are different types of cries and different ways of handling crying. Careful listening on the part of the teacher will help determine which type of cry is occurring and how to properly respond.
Watch the video below to learn more about infants crying:
Do not assume that a baby is crying just because of hunger. There are many reasons that a baby cries and finding the right solution is very important. Following the child’s feeding and napping schedules, as well as diapering at scheduled times, will help alleviate crying.
When our very youngest infants (between six weeks and three months) cry, it requires the teacher to be attentive and available to offer comfort and helps the baby form attachments.
Babies who have been hurt need a teacher to provide immediate attention to discover what is wrong and provide comfort.
Sometimes a baby needs reassurance that a parent will come back. Reassure the child that the parent will return soon and work on engaging the child into an activity with a teacher or other children.
At nap time, the teacher will check to make sure the child has a pacifier (if the child uses one) and will console the child by talking softly in a reassuring voice.
Crying can be stressful in an Infant room. Hopefully, as you get to know your infants’ wants and needs, you will be able to provide a calm, reassuring environment.
Sleeping is a very important part of a child’s activity during the stage of infancy. Sleep provides opportunities for brain development, growth and influences lifelong sleeping habits.
Watch the video below to learn more about infant sleeping:
The purpose for the Dr. Day Care sleep & napping guidelines are to teach children routines and meet each child’s individual developmental needs!
Children are supervised at all times while sleeping, just as they are supervised at all times of the day.
Dr. Day Care follows Safe Sleep practices to guide our teachers in meeting the needs of our infants. This means that babies are always placed on their BACKS when placed in the crib. Remember the phrase BACK TO SLEEP. No items are allowed in the cribs, this includes blankets, bumpers, or stuffed animals.
If the child rolls over (usually around 4 -7 months), it’s okay to leave the baby on their stomach or side. Please do not roll the child over. Rolling over is a developmental milestone in their life! Cribs will NOT be rocked or shaken for the safety of the children and teachers.
If you ever have a question regarding a child’s sleeping habits, please ask your Administrator to help you develop a plan with the parents. The Home Office staff are also always available as a resource to you!
See our “Sleeping Infants” policy for guidelines on infant sleeping schedules.
It is important to keep in mind that most babies rest at the times outlined in the policy and for about 1-2 hours each time they rest. These are general guidelines for child development and may fluctuate with each child’s personality.
Many components are taken into consideration for resting- the age of the baby, what time the child woke up in the morning prior to coming to Dr. Day Care, how long an infant typically naps at home, and the parent’s feedback about their child’s sleeping habits.
Typically, babies who do not fall asleep shortly after being placed in their crib will be nurtured by a teacher by:
gently touching the child’s hair/head, gentle, reassuring pats on the feet, arm or shoulders
using a reassuring, calm voice
re-positioning a pacifier in the baby’s mouth
allowing the child to soothe him or herself to sleep
If the child is still not ready for sleep, you can take the child out of the crib and engage the child with activities we reviewed earlier, such as tummy time, swing, rocking and reading, or playing and exploring the classroom.
The baby will be placed back in their crib during the next scheduled rest time. If the child falls asleep or seems visibly tired while engaged in activities, the baby will then be placed back in their crib. You may noticed a baby is visibly tired if you see him or her rubbing their eyes, yawning, or crying. As you become more familiar with the babies in your classroom and their unique personalities, you will begin to notice these cues more easily.
Children are never allowed to sleep in any other place except a crib. This means children are not allowed to sleep in a swing, car seat, high chair, floor or in a teacher’s arms.
If a parent brings their child to Dr. Day Care in a car seat, the baby is removed from the car seat before the parent leaves the classroom. It is important that children do not remain in their car seats, even if they are sleeping.
ANY TIME a child falls asleep anywhere other than the crib, they will IMMEDIATELY be placed in their crib.
I cannot stress enough the importance of sleeping ONLY in a crib! While teachers are encouraged to hold, rock, nurture and educate babies throughout the entire day, babies are not rocked for the purpose to assist them in falling asleep. If an infant falls asleep while being rocked or held DURING part of THE DAY’S activities and the BABY will be immediately placed in THEIR crib ON THEIR BACK!
All cribs must have a firm crib mattress and tight-fitting sheet. No additional items can be placed in the crib, this includes blankets, bottles, bibs, or toys. Parents may bring in a sleep sack or pacifier for their child’s rest times, with parental permission on the “Rest Time Item Form.”
Pacifiers should never have clips or be attached to the child in any way. Pacifiers are ONLY used when the child is in the crib sleeping. Less use of a pacifier during daytime will assist children in developing verbal skills.
When the child awakes from his or her nap, it is important that the child does not associate crying with being immediately taken out of his or her crib.
Some suggestions are to engage the child by smiling, singing a soft song, or gently clapping hands. As soon as the child smiles and stops crying, pick up the child and positively praise the child’s smile. In time, a child will wake up smiling and not crying.
At approximately 15 -17 months old, the Infant Lead Teacher will speak with the infant’s parents about transitioning the child from a crib to a cot to help prepare for the move to the Toddler Classroom.
All naps in the infant room are recorded on the Infant Daily Log and in Tadpoles. This helps with parent communication and noting patterns of child development.
Make sure you sanitize the diaper changing area before you begin. Plan ahead by getting all the items you will need. This includes the gloves, clean diaper, wipes, and ointment if needed. Once this is complete, you may now begin to change the baby!
During diaper changing, it is imperative to supervise the baby and maintain constant supportive hand contact.
This is a great time to positively engage the baby through conversation, singing songs, finger plays, teaching math, or pointing out body parts. For example, “I have *two* eyes and *one* nose!” This is a great way to teach math to a baby!
Be sure that you are respectful during diaper changing- don’t make negative comments.
If a child soils through their clothing, it is to be double bagged and sent home. After the diaper is removed, wrap it with your soiled gloves for disposal.
After the child has been changed, both the teacher and the baby need to properly wash their hands. For younger infants that cannot support their head independently, their hands can be wiped thoroughly with a wipe. For older infants, teachers will assist the baby with handwashing under running water for at least 20 seconds.
After the infant returns to the group, the teacher then will need to wash his or her hands. Next is sanitizing the diaper changing area with a bleach solution.
If a child is low on supplies, use the Supply Request Form and Tadpoles, to request that the parent brings in at least a week’s supply. Parents may ask about cloth diapers, Dr. Day Care does allow this, see the policy titled “Diapering.”
If a problem arises, please contact your center Administrator.
Then you must always remember to record this diaper change. For centers that use Tadpoles, this will be done on the iPad. Otherwise this will be done on the Diaper Log form. This information is available for all parents when needed.