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Informal Care: Leaving Children in Good Hands

June 20, 2024

informal care

June 20, 2024

Childcare situations vary with age and from family to family. Some children receive care in licensed childcare centers and preschools while others receive more casual or informal care. Grandparents, other relatives, friends and neighbors often provide informal care. In many cases, the caregiver may be a significant other. The quality of informal care your child receives can help promote their growth, health and safety. Here are some things to look for when assessing your informal care options.

Trustworthiness and Reliability:

One of the most critical aspects of choosing informal care is the trustworthiness of the caregiver. This includes being dependable, keeping commitments and having a genuine concern for the child’s well-being. The caregiver should have a proven track record of responsible behavior and the ability to provide consistent and reliable care.

Positive and Safe Environment:

The environment in which the child is cared for should be safe, clean and child friendly. This means removing potential hazards and having age-appropriate toys and activities available. It should also have a nurturing atmosphere where the child feels secure and happy. A positive environment fosters healthy emotional and physical development.

Responsive and Engaging Interaction:

Good caregivers engage with children and pay attention to their needs. They should actively talk to, play with and sing to the child. Children need enthusiastic communication to stimulate their cognitive and social development. This interaction helps build strong relationships and supports the child’s learning and growth.

Experience and Knowledge:

While informal caregivers may not have formal training, having experience with children and knowledge about child development is crucial. Understanding developmental milestones and being equipped to handle different stages of growth ensures that the child receives appropriate care and support.

Adaptability and Patience:

Children can be unpredictable, and their needs and emotions can change rapidly. A good caregiver is adaptable, patient and able to handle challenging situations with calmness and flexibility. They should be capable of managing conflicts, addressing behavioral issues constructively and maintaining a composed demeanor.

Choosing the right informal care for your child significantly impacts their development and well-being. We encourage you to take the time to assess your child’s needs and communicate with the caregiver about your goals and expectations. Informal care, when chosen wisely, can offer a nurturing and supportive setting that complements your child’s growth and development. There is also great peace of mind knowing your child is in an environment where they are loved and cared for.

View our Parent Tip Card for a free informal care checklist!