Infancy is an important period when a child gets the basis for his or her further development including physical, mental, emotional, and cognitive development. During this period it is necessary to pay attention to childcare setting, as its quality directly influences the quality of a person’s future life. Children grow very quickly. During the first year they learn to raise and hold their heads, watch the moving objects, control their bodies, crawl, sit, stand, they try to articulate and repeat sounds, and respond to other people. They also begin to eat solid food when the first teeth arrive, and some of them even take their first steps before they turn one.
When the first child arrives, parents can encounter unpredictable problems. If both parents want to save their jobs, they have to decide who they would permit to care about their baby. It is high time to think about the opportunities to get assistance from the side, for example, find an appropriate childcare center with qualified personnel.
It is also important to understand when you are going to leave your child to a daycare. Six months is a significant milestone when children begin to develop rapidly and learn many new things at once. The changes in a baby’s behavior concern physical activities, mental, emotional and cognitive development, and nutrition. Each child develops in his or her own pace. Childcare center personnel should pay much attention to the peculiarities of each child.
Personnel qualifications and safety
The members of childcare center personnel must be qualified professionals that have appropriate credentials to work with children of specific age. They must be interested and concerned for the children proper care and well-being. All staff members submit their medical statement and go through a criminal record check (“Rules regulating child care centers”, 2012). Children supervisors should elaborate individual approach to each child. They should speak positive a lot with infants they care for, as children learn language by listening. During the day, each child should have individual personal contact and attention from his or her supervisor. The supervisor holds, rocks a child, takes him on walks, talks to him (“Rules regulating child care centers”, 2012).
Supervisors must never leave children unattended indoors and outdoors, on changing tables, high chairs, and near the play equipment. Safety comes at first place when we speak about infants, especially about those who have just learnt to hold their heads, sit, crawl or stand. Infant nursery should be located on the ground level and be separated in a different room from the other facilities (“Rules regulating child care centers”, 2012). There are special requirements for indoor and outdoor areas where children play, eat or sleep in. As for the play equipment and materials, baby walkers are prohibited to use in childcare centers. Strollers, bouncers, and swings are used only under supervision of the staff members.
Infancy is a time to develop healthy behaviors and patterns that will contribute to the further child’s physical development and health (Krakow, 2011). Physical environment influences child’s state and health in a whole. It also provides learning opportunities, especially to the curious children who perceive the world in their own special way (Maxwell, 1998). Six months is the age when infants rapidly become more and more physically active, they confidently hold their heads, they may roll over, sit with support and alone, crawl, grab and pull things. Some of them even try to stand up.
Physical activities are an integral part of a child’s physical and mental development. It should be encouraged when a child is awake and interested. Physical activities from early childhood are important to avoid obesity in adulthood (“Best practices for physical activity”, 2009).
Six month old baby get used to roll to his stomach and lie on it or even sleep on it. He or she can creep forward and backward and crawl, that is why it is important to provide safe, clean and open area for a child to move free both indoors and outdoors. Physical development should include large and small motor skills (Maxwell, 1998).
The number of children in a playgroup is also important; the nurseries should not be overcrowded, otherwise the child would feel discomfort. Parents should seek for little groups with no more than 10 children per one classroom (“Best practices for physical activity”, 2009). Children in daycare centers should be allowed to form and observe their own schedule for sleep and play time (“Rules regulating child care centers”, 2012).
Mental, emotional, and cognitive stimulation
“To develop new skills, children must have the opportunity for a variety of experiences” (Maxwell, 1998). Infants learn quickly. They seek interaction, respond and express how they feel with the help of mimics and sounds. Infants smile and laugh if they like something. Crying is their way to say if something bothers them. Supervisors learn to understand each child’s individual behavior. The childcare staff members should contact and speak positive to infants in order to develop strong emotional connection with them. It provides cognitive and emotional stimulation. It is necessary to read aloud and play calm classic music to infants.
There must be appropriate materials and equipment to play with in a daycare center. All the materials and play equipment must correspond to a child’s age. Infants (including six month old babies) are provided with mobiles, rubber washable toys to bite, balls, blocks, rattles, record player, tape player, and radio (“Rules regulating child care centers”, 2012). Children play with developing toys that provide and encourage auditory, tactile, visual stimulation, and manipulative skills (“Child care center”, 1998). All toys must be checked for safety, they should not have sharp edges or small parts.
Six months is a significant milestone concerning child’s nutrition and diet. In this age child is first introduced to solid food. Although, breast milk continues to be the most important meal for an infant that constitutes the major part of daily nutrition, pediatricians advise adding new kind of food. Infants are introduced to new products slowly, starting with 1/2 of a tablespoon at the first time and gradually increasing the amount to a set standard. Such a slow pace can be explained with a baby’s immature digestive system that needs time to get used to solid food as a new source of nutrition. A child that begins to get solid food after he or she turns six months has a lower risk of obesity than the one that started to get solids earlier. Usually, parents start with non-allergic cereals, vegetables and fruits. Later, it is important to introduce iron-rich products, as well as calcium-rich products to support growth of a child.
Parents are responsible to provide a daycare supervisor with a written plan of a diet and feeding schedule for their child (“Rules regulating child care centers”, 2012). It is also necessary to provide a supervisor with a child’s food likes and dislikes, as well as food allergies (“Child care center”, 1998).
Raising physically and mentally healthy child is not the only issue for parents to concern. New parents should pay attention to the question of expenditures on the stage of planning a baby. Besides expenditures concerning optional daycare services, parents should be ready to spend large amount of money for baby supplies. Six month old infants need diapers, hygiene products, and new clothes appropriate for the current season, which make up $1000-2000 per year. Six month old child may need a new, more spacious stroller, which will cost about $300-$500. Car seat will cost about $180. Parents may also buy some baby gears appropriate to an infant’s age and needs, such as a play center, a swing, and a bouncer seat. Additional gears and new developing toys can cost up to $600. Baby will also need a high feeding chair as in six month baby starts to sit and is introduced to new kinds of food. The cost of the chair can range from $50 to $200. Parents should also take into account the cost of food introduced to an infant.
Health insurance for a dependent can cost up to $400 a month.
Childcare center can cost from $10000 to $20000 per year depending on the place of living and prestige of the daycare center. Daycare center is more affordable than nanny and can be more useful from the point of view of developing social and communicative skills in a child.
When choosing a childcare center for a six month old infant, it is necessary to take into account its location and proximity to public places. The best will be a place with good ecology distant from the city fuss. Proximity to hospitals and healthcare facilities is important not only for children with special needs, but for all children in case of emergency.
All parents strive for premium care for their children. Despite being tied to the budget, it is important for a family to provide their children with appropriate childcare setting. It concerns both cases when one of the parents or relatives stays at home with a child and when parents take their child to a daycare center. Parents are responsible for their children and for choosing the ideal childcare setting for their little ones. They should pay attention to physical, mental, emotional, cognitive development of the children and be careful with introducing new food to a little child.