Today, developmentally appropriate care is rarer for infants and toddlers in all settings, than it is for older children. For infants, the cornerstone of their curriculum and nurturing is the teacher and the relationship the infant establishes with their teacher. It also creates a partnership with parents and gaining a greater understanding of each infant. It is critical for the teacher to be able to meet that infant’s need and to feel secure and give the support to the infant, as they gain a greater understanding of themselves, their world, and others.
Remember that one baby varies from another. Some babies are placid and quiet; others cry often and demand much more attention.
Here are some ideas:
Cuddle Up To help the baby relax, lie down next to the baby. Try to match your breathing pattern with the baby.
Narrate Life Talk to the baby about what you do, while you change, bath, or in the room with the baby. Show the baby different objects, while you carry her/him around. Babies prefer simple, clear language that is expressed in a higher-pitched tone.
Facing the Baby Place a mirror about 7 inches from the baby’s eyes and let the baby watch the reflection of their own movement.
Touching Textures Let the baby touch different types of textures – smooth, shiny fabrics, corduroy, silver, wool, and so on. This helps him/her learn about their sense of touch and about how objects can be different.
Play Back Make a tape of the baby’s sounds and play it back. Listening to the coos, goo’s, and cries will fascinate and relax the baby, even though they won’t realize that they are making the sounds.
Tracking Targets Look at the baby and move your face back and forth in front of him/her. They love to track movement and anticipate what you are going to do next.
Sing Along To soothe or cheer the baby, sing simple songs such as “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” or “Hush, Little Baby.”
Touch Test While the baby is lying in the crib or on a changing table, experiment with different forms of touch to see if the baby likes pressure or a feather-light touch like having their tummy rubbed gently or the thighs caressed. If you keep an eye on their facial expressions, it will be easy for you to discover what they like and what they do not like.
Exchange Sounds When the baby makes a sound, react with delight, repeat it back to her, then pause and give the baby a chance to respond. They will love this kind of turn taking and anticipating what is coming next.
Name That Toe While bathing or dressing the baby, label the body parts so that the baby begins to associate a word with the nose, the leg, the belly, and so on.
Show and Tell Show the baby how things work around the school. Flick a light switch on and off, or open and close a drawer, and describe what is happening.
Talk Show To reinforce the baby’s babbling interest in language, keep up a running dialogue with him/her while you are going about the ordinary activities of your day.
Let’s Talk About Me Hold the baby in your arms or seat him on your lap and ask, “How big is (the baby’s name)?” Then raise one of the hands over the head and answer, “Soooo big!” Eventually, the baby will learn to raise his/her hand while you do this.
Little Nature Lover Take the baby on a walk outside and let the baby touch a brick, a feather, grass, and so on. Discovering these natural textures will delight the baby.