Infant and Toddler Development and Care

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This series provides rationale and guidance for implementing relationship-based care in family child care homes and child care centers that serve infants, toddlers, and their families. The content is based on the understanding that relationships are essential for healthy development.

This series provides rationale and guidance for implementing trauma-responsive care in child care settings that serve infants, toddlers, and their families. It is based on the following understanding of trauma:

Individualized Care is the practice of being responsive and adapting to each infant’s and toddler’s interests, needs, abilities, and unique temperament to support their healthy development.

What is Relationship-Based Care?

Early relationships lay the foundation for all future learning and are at the core of quality care for infants and toddlers in group care settings.

Relationship-based care is:

Small-Group Care is the practice in which primary caregivers provide care for infants and toddlers in discrete groups, creating an intimate setting for interactions, care routines, and exploration.

Inclusive care is the practice of actively including infants and toddlers with disabilities or delays in group care settings, with appropriate accommodation and support.

Social-Emotional Development is defined as “the developing capacity of the child from birth through 5 to form close and secure relationships; experience, regulate, and express emotions in socially and culturally appropriate ways; and explore the environment and learn—all in the context of fa

Continuity of Care is the practice in which primary caregivers and children stay together for as long as possible, preferably the first 3 years, creating opportunities for caregiver-child,caregiver-family, and child-child relationships to develop and deepen over time.

Culturally Responsive Care is the practice of caring for children from culturally diverse families in ways that are consistent with their home practices and values.