Not all child care jobs can be handled in the same way. Depending on the age of the child in your care, you’re going to choose to do different activities or have specific expectations of what spending time with them will be like. This is especially true with infants and toddlers. There’s a unique challenge to caring for the youngest of humans that care providers should be prepared for. Here are just a few of them.
Doctors and scientists track our growth through milestones based on what’s typical or expected of children at certain ages. While there are milestones all throughout childhood, they happen much more frequently in infants and toddlers.
Basically, they’re learning a lot, and quickly. That’s why you tend to hear parents refer to their baby’s age in months and not years in the first 2 years of life. There are a lot of big developmental differences between a 3-month-old and a 10-month-old.
Eating & Sleeping Schedules
For most kids and adults, we eat 3 meals per day with the occasional snack in between them. However, this is definitely not the case with infants and toddlers. Just like with developmental milestones, how much they eat, when they eat, and what they eat depends on how old they are and each individual baby’s needs.
Especially with newborns, developing and sticking to a sleeping schedule is crucial for them to get the energy they need, but also for the parents and care providers to stay sane. Younger babies need more sleep than just the afternoon nap kids usually take. Being familiar with infant sleep needs is crucial to the job of a care provider.
Specific Safety Considerations
Safety is always the number one priority for parents and care providers alike, but what exactly does that mean? With children, adults are typically teaching them how to stay safe and helping them do so. With infants and toddlers, they don’t have the capacity to learn those things or help themselves. They’re completely reliant upon adults to look out for anything that could harm them.
Spending long hours with children is what the job of a babysitter or nanny is. And what to do with all of that time is always the big question. It’s important for care providers to know what activities are appropriate for infants and toddlers to engage in and which ones to stay away from. Based on their developmental milestones, there are some things babies just can’t do.
How Can Nannies and Babysitters Prepare?
There’s lots of information out there, but how do you know where to start? Our recommendation is with reputable sources whose dedicated purpose is to provide sound and helpful education. Like ChildCare Education Institute. They have over 150 online child care training courses (including many infant/toddler courses) in English and Spanish that meet licensing, recognition program, and Head Start requirements.
Their coursework is fully online and self-paced, so it’s available for you to complete on your own schedule and in your own timing. Plus, as a Sittercity care provider, you can get 20% off your first year of courses!
Want to take it a step further? You can take CCEI’s self-study Child Development Associate (CDA) Certification course. The training meets The Council for Professional Recognition’s content area requirements and prepares students for The Council’s credentialing assessment process. With Sittercity, you get free registration and 18% off!
The health and safety of families and care providers are important to us. ChildCare Education Institute is a third-party provider and not directly affiliated with Sittercity. Information is constantly evolving, so Sittercity can’t guarantee the accuracy of their courses or if they are up-to-date.