Remember that there is no perfect family day care provider. Sometimes you won’t know what to do. That is all right. Trust your own judgment and stick to it. Learn as much as you can about infants. It takes time and practice to be a good provider.
Also, there is no perfect infant. Infants are human. They have needs and feelings. Infants look and act differently. Some babies are born quiet. They may want to sleep all the time. Some babies are demanding and very active. Let each infant be himself or herself. Adapt to each infant’s behavior instead of pushing the infant to be more like other infants.
BIRTH TO SIX MONTHS
- They begin to develop trust as their parents and providers meet their needs (for example, feeding them when they are hungry, changing their diapers when needed, or holding them when they cry).
- When frightened, infants cry and look surprised and afraid. They cry to express hunger, anger, and pain. It is their way of communicating.
- They are easily excited or upset.
- They need to be cradled and comforted.
- It seems as if they cannot tell where their bodies end and someone else’s begins.
- Infants smile in response to a pleasant sound or a full stomach. At about 6 weeks, they smile in response to someone else. By 4 months, they smile broadly and laugh when pleased.
- They learn to recognize faces and voices of parents and providers.
SIX TO TWELVE MONTHS
- Infants will talk to themselves in front of a mirror.
- They respond when you say their names.
- They get angry and frustrated when their needs (for example, being fed, having diapers changed, being held) are not met in a reasonable amount of time.
- Eye contact begins to replace some of the physical contact that younger infants seek.
- They begin to learn what is and is not allowed.
- They begin to fear strangers. They begin to fear being left by their parents or other care providers.