How To Build A Successful Infant Caregiver Routine
Caregiving routines are built-in opportunities for connection between a child and a caregiver. Multiple times throughout the day an infant will be fed, changed, settled in for naps, and cleaned up and it is in these everyday occurrences that caregivers can build a nurturing relationship founded in trust and security. In a recent QSSB offered training for family child care providers, the attendants were asked what about caregiving gives them joy. Their answers included: seeing smiling faces every day, watching and participating in the adventures of play, and the love that children share and the opportunity to share love back. Overarching was the theme that in caretaking there is no moment to small.
What is a Care Routine?
A care routine is an essential part of the curriculum in infant care environments. It is necessary to establish focused and responsive practices for the reoccurring, non-negotiable tasks of a day like arrival and departure, diapering, or toileting, feeding and meals, napping and transitions.
Tips for Creating a Caregiver Routine
Create a Consistent Routine
- A routine is an expected, repeatable sequence of events which provides structure and predictability. Because children thrive with structure and predictability and because they can spend a significant portion of their day in the care of someone other than their primary parent, it is important to communicate with parents. To create consistent cues and practices, providers should communicate openly with parents about the needs, development, and cultures of the children in their care.
Meet All Needs
- The clearest way to meet the needs of the children is to acknowledge that each is an individual with their own needs. The Program for Infant Toddler Care (PITC) has six policies that emphasize the need for respectful care for the benefit of both children and caretakers. The policies highlight the individual needs of families and children, all of whom come from different cultures and communities and have varied abilities, preferences, and ways in which they learn. It is the caregiver’s job to take all of this into consideration. When the basic needs are responded to promptly and respectfully, children feel safe which gives them the freedom to learn.
Allow Time for Play
- Infant schedules can feel a bit daunting; each need seems so immediate. Because of this, it is important to build in time for play during the task in addition to play between tasks. For example, take a few moments during a diaper change to play peek a boo, sing a song during transitions, read, or tell a story before naps. Get creative in your opportunities for connection and help each child feel cared for to help build their skills and autonomy.
How QSSB Supports Caregivers
One part of QSSB’s mission is to provide varied professional development experiences for the early education workforce. This includes trainings and coaching. The trainings are featured on the QSSB calendar here, and every month providers have a variety of topics to choose from. Topics covered this year alone include: infant caregiving routines, child mental health, anti-bias education, record keeping for family child cares, everyday play and supporting children’s at home language. Each training is run through the California Workforce Registry. QSSB coaches work directly with participating early education environments and help them create and meet goals to further elevate the quality of their program. They can offer their expertise around areas like caregiving routines, curriculum, safety and so much more. If you’re interested in receiving such benefits and provide care to children zero to five, contact us to learn about enrolling in QSSB!