Responsive, sensitive relationships with teachers allow for infants and toddlers to learn and grow across all areas of development
What You Need to Know
When infants and toddlers feel safe and connected, they are more able to explore and engage in the world around them. They take appropriate risks, try new things, and show increased self-reliance, persistence, compliance, and focus. When teachers anticipate issues and/or calmly address them when they occur, young children are more able to quickly re-engage in an activity. Both infants and toddlers use their relationships with teachers as a model when learning to communicate and relate to others. They seek out teachers to help them when they encounter problems or when they need comfort, support, or guidance.
What It Looks Like
Ways you can make a young infant or toddler feel welcomed and supported
Engage in Conversation
Engaging in social conversation, like this teacher does during center time, can be a great way to get to know children and stay connected.
Be a Resource
Be available and ready to respond to young children when they ask for help. This lets them know that you are a trusted adult that they can count on.
Join in Children's Play
It may sound simple, but joining in with children’s play is a great way to foster engagement and build relationships.
STRATEGIES FOR THE CLASSROOM
Serve and Return Interactions
Serve and return interactions literally shape brain architecture! When you engage with a child in back-and-forth interactions that are supportive, attentive, and responsive, it builds a strong relationship and creates a lasting foundation for future development. Learn 5 simple steps to engage in “serve and return” with infants and toddlers.
Taking Care of Ourselves
When teachers manage their stress, they can support children who experience trauma more effectively. This practical activity guide provides ways to cope with stress and prioritize self-care.
A Foundation of Trust
Presented by Head Start, this video shares strategies for building relationships and a bond of trust with children and their families.
Confronting our Biases
This NAEYC article shares some key steps teachers can use to reflect on and address bias in infant and toddler programs.
BUILDING CONNECTIONS WITH BOOKS
Baby's First Words
Written by Stella Blackstone and Sunny Scribens and illustrated by Christiane Engel, this book captures a day in the life of young toddler. It features colorful illustrations and simple labels that are perfect for following children’s lead as they explore familiar objects, places, and actions.
Activity Cards for Infant and Toddler Classrooms
Part of the STREAMin3 curriculum, activity cards provide simple and fun ways you can build relationships with older infants and toddlers
Get Our Resource Guide
Includes questions and activities to guide your use of the videos, book suggestions, and activity cards featured for each of our core social-emotional skills