The average baby will have between 2,500 and 3,000 diaper changes in their first year. That’s a lot of diapers! If they eat every 3 hours, that same baby will also be fed 2,920 times. Looking at these numbers, it’s easy to imagine why much of a baby’s day is spent engaging in caregiving routines. As a parent or child care provider, it’s easy to get caught up in the repetition of these routines and just “go through the motions”. But why not make these routines fun learning experiences as well?
Research shows that babies and toddlers may actually learn the most during these everyday routines. Why is that? Between birth and 2 years of age, children learn concepts such as language skills, social/emotional skills, motor skills, math and science primarily through their relationships with parents and child care providers. Infants and toddlers are wired to learn through interactions with their caregivers and since so much of their day is spent eating, sleeping and getting diaper changes, there’s no better time than this!
With caregiving routines for infants and toddlers taking up a majority of the day, it can be easy to “check out” when feeding or changing the children in your care. Remember that these routines can be so much more, and soon incorporating learning experiences will come as easily as going through the motions. Have fun!
Researchers say 24 percent of Iowa residents live in child care deserts, places where child care is scant. That figure jumped to 37 percent in rural areas.