Choosing Infant/Toddler Care

What You Do and Don’t Want to See in an Infant Program

What you want to see

Group size is limited to no more than eight babies, with at least one teacher for every three children. Each infant is assigned to a primary caregiver, allowing for strong bonds to form and so each teacher can get to know a few babies and families very well.

Teachers show warmth and support to infants throughout the day; they make eye contact and talk to them about what is going on.

Teachers are alert to babies’ cues; they hold infants or move them to a new place or position, giving babies variety in what they can look at and do.

Teachers pay close attention and talk and sing with children during routines such as diapering, feeding, and dressing.

Teachers talk, sing, and read to babies, enabling infants to become familiar with language and ultimately to recognize words and sounds.

Babies eat and sleep when they are most comfortable doing so. Teachers consider infants’ individual preferences for food and styles of eating.

Teachers follow standards for health and safety, including proper hand washing to limit the spread of infectious disease.

Teachers can see and hear infants at all times.

Parents and teachers share children’s activities and development on a daily basis, building mutual understanding and trust. Teachers welcome parents to drop by the home or center at any time.


How to Choose Quality Child Care

What are the hallmarks of quality child care? How do you select a good caregiver? ZERO TO THREE has established some basic principles—discussed below—which define quality care for infants and toddlers.

More and more infants and toddlers are spending time each day in some type of child care setting. All children—especially infants and toddlers—need a child care setting where they can thrive with caregivers who understand how to promote their healthy growth and development. Young children need a schedule that is responsive to their needs, including appropriate stimulation and time to rest. They need to be talked to and played with. They need love and attention. And they need the opportunity to form the kind of comfortable, secure relationship with a caregiver that will nurture their healthy emotional development.


Selecting Quality Child Care

The South Carolina Child Care Resource & Referral Network (SC-CCRRN) is committed to helping parents find the best information on locating quality child care, early childhood resources in their community, information on state licensing requirements, and availability of child care subsidies. It also supports families in making childcare choices for their children to prepare them for school readiness and a bright future.

Choosing child care is one of the most important decisions families make, but all too often they rely on word-of-mouth. Parents are a child’s first and best teachers, but those who care for children when parents can’t be are also extremely important for a child.

When parents know they have left their children in a safe, loving, and stimulating child care environment that they can count on, they don’t have to worry while they are at work. Research shows that when parents know their child is getting the kind of care children need to be happy, healthy, safe, and ready for school they are more productive employees.