What Constitutes an Ideal Childcare Setting for a 6-Month Old
Child development can be characterized as a complex and multidimensional process in the first place. Normally, the processes of anatomic, physiological, and psychological/cognitive development take place at a very rapid pace in infants and toddlers. Apparently, a child of six months of age needs more than simply being fed and nurtured. Therefore, it is important to clarify what exactly constitutes an ideal childcare setting for a baby.
A child of six months of age should be nurtured in the loving and peaceful atmosphere. This, in particular, is the start of formation of a harmonious personality. For children under six months of age, it is needed to provide care where they can build close relationships with one or a small group of care providers. Parents, caregivers should spend as much time as possible with a child in order to understand child’s needs and ways better. Most importantly, parents and care providers should understand health, safety, and hygiene needs of an infant. At the same time, caregivers should be familiar with the needs and development processes of a child.
Infants spend most of their waking hours either learning to play, playing, or being fed. It is rather an important and, at the same time, an insightful thing to know that a child should be provided with separate places for sleeping and playing. The so-called tummy time helps a baby to build neck and shoulder strength. Supervision is considered obligatory in that particular case. Parents or caregivers should pick a child up each time they see a child is either upset or frustrated. However, children should not be allowed to sleep on their tummies. Parents should limit the time child spends in a swing, a bouncer seat, or an exercise saucer to 30 minutes a day and split this time in at least two sessions. A child should play on a spread blanket and the toys should be put in front of a baby with the distance of reach. This will allow a child to wiggle, squirm, and stretch. Safety is the top priority when organizing a play space for infants.
Individual qualities of parents and/or caregivers play a significant role in child nurturing. It happens so because infant’s traits of character and emotional state largely depend on the psychological characteristics of the adults an infant associates/communicate with. In order to create an ideal childcare setting for a child of six months of age, one should be patient, calm, easy-going, caring, cheerful, and resilient. The aforementioned set of characteristics applies to the parents and the staff of a child care facility by equal measure. Caregivers should be experienced and responsible. A strict discipline policy should be established in a child care facility. Child care facility’s personnel should be trained in first aid. Less attention should be paid to the members’ of the staff educational background. Instead, attention should be paid to their personal qualities and their attitude to children.
Health, Safety, Nutrition
Infant’s health largely depends on proper nutritional patterns. Proper nutrition is, perhaps, a point of primary concern in childcare for infants at six months of age. Breastfeeding constitutes a typical feeding pattern and, more importantly, is considered the best option for a six-month child’s nutrition. There are cases when children are formula-fed. In cases like those, responsibility lies on a person preparing formula. It is important that a person preparing a formula kept to the instructions indicated on a package of a product. Childcare specialists claim that “formula should not be diluted, thickened, or made more concentrated unless specifically instructed by a physician”. It is important to keep track on baby’s diapers in order to detect and/or jugulate any possible disorder. What is more important, however, is to be capable of interpreting the signals a child is sending to ensure proper care. As a rule, by six months of age children become accustomed to eating solid foods (meats, cereals, vegetables, and fruits). Until approximately four months of age, the childcare specialists do not recommend to put a child on a solid foods diet because doing so may increase a child’s risk of developing food allergies. At approximately 4 to 6 months of age and further on infants develop susceptibility to allergies.
Finally, the specialists of a child care facility should be familiar with the health needs of and safety requirements for the infants. Clearly, safety should be considered a top priority by the specialists of a child care facility. The facility itself should be organized and equipped respectively.
Mental, Emotional, and Cognitive Stimulation
Child development can be characterized as an extensive process comprised of a variety of dimensions. The dimensions are determined mainly by character of the activities a baby is engaged in. With regard to this, the researchers distinguish between the emotional, physical and motor, social and moral, cognitive, and language dimensions. Emotional dimension suggest that satisfaction of child’s emotional needs is vitally important. The scholars claim that parents should establish “stable and reassuring emotional relationships” with their children. Developing the aforementioned statement further, the researchers point put that “on the basis of this relationship that the child will be able to develop harmoniously”. Physical and motor dimension addresses child’s sensorial, motor, physiological, and physical needs. The motor skills of a child are as follows: endurance, agility, lateralization, and balance. The development of child’s motor skills encompasses the gross motor skills, such as grasping an object, crawling, sitting down, walking, running, and climbing, and fine motor skills, that are typically associated with manual dexterity. Social and moral dimension presupposes that parents and caregivers build children a favorable childcare environment in order to teach them how to interact with others, how to express and control emotions, resolve conflicts and problems, and put themselves in the place of others. The capacity to interact with others, to express and control emotions, to put oneself in somebody else’s place, to avoid and resolve conflicts are the essential elements of the process of acquiring social skills. For children to build and maintain harmonious relations with others, children and care providers should teach them to tell the right from wrong by helping them to understand what is good and what is bad. The awareness of what is good and what is bad, as well as the process of acquiring social skills itself, bridge the social/moral and cognitive dimensions of child development. Cognitive dimension implies the creation of a stimulating environment, which makes the development of children’s senses, acquisition of knowledge and skills, and better understanding of the world possible. Psycholinguistics teaches that at the age of 6 months, children typically enter a babbling stage of language acquisition, apprehension, and reproduction. The processes of language acquisition, apprehension, and reproduction are reinforced by adults’ talking to children and teaching them how to express their needs and emotions more clearly. A facility in which all of the aforementioned aspects are followed constitutes an ideal childcare setting. In addition to that, the specialists of a child care facility should be familiar with the mental, emotional, and cognitive stimuli that can be applied for infants.
Close geographical proximity is considered a factor that “has a substantial positive effect on the labor force participation of women with young children”. Apart from that, it is possible to assume that proximity is a factor that helps parents to decide on their child care arrangements. Therefore, proximity is on important factor in choosing an appropriate childcare setting. It is preferable that the preferred childcare setting would be in the proximity of no more than 15 to 20 minutes’ drive from home to work.
The most recent studies report that the day care facilities’ services and child care in general are becoming less affordable these days. The situation is rather crucial. Evidently, the authorities should reconsider their financial policies and support families and child care facilities financially. Therefore, one should find a balance between the cost and the quality of services provided by a child care facility.
The first year of life is, perhaps, one of the most important stages in the development of a child. Therefore, it is important that parents and caregivers were capable of understanding children’s needs, ways, as well as the signals they send. It is especially important that child’s needs for health, safety, and hygiene were met. In addition to that, a child care facility’s personnel should pay attention to cognitive, mental, and emotional development of infants. All things considered, a safe, protective, and enriching environment where children are surrounded by those who love and guide them constitutes an ideal childcare setting for a six months- old child.
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