To best support infants and toddlers, we must understand the families in which they grow and develop. Think about an infant or toddler you care for and their family. Take time to read and answer each question based on the family you are thinking about.
- What is the makeup of this family? Who is part of this family system? What things might impact this family system and the ways they work together?
- What types of information does this family often share with you? What examples do they provide about their infant or toddler? What is most important to this family?
- What affects relationships within this family? What do their interactions look like?
- What changes do you see this family going through? What are some things to think about when you consider some of these possible changes?
- What are possible challenges this family may encounter? How can you accommodate these challenges to create learning opportunities for the child?
Now think about your interactions with this infant or toddler and the family. What assumptions do you think the family has made about your role? For example, do you think they believe it is your role to promote learning? And what assumptions do you have about the family’s role? For example, do you believe families are responsible for social and emotional growth? These beliefs and assumptions may affect the ways in which you relate and work with families in your program. There are no right or wrong responses, but take some time to think clearly about the roles that you assume are played by yourself and families. Are these assumptions accurate?
- What are your assumptions or beliefs about families?
Here are a few common assumptions that staff members sometimes make (remember, not all assumptions are accurate):
- Families are responsible for children’s social and emotional growth
- Families should be involved in their child’s education
- Families should volunteer in their child’s program
- Families are responsible for teaching moral behavior in the home
- Families do not have expertise when it comes to young children’s development
- What do you think the family believes is your role?
Here are a few common assumptions that families sometimes make (remember, not all assumptions are accurate):
- Professionals have the resources to help families of children in their care
- Professionals are the experts when it comes to young children’s care and education
- Professionals are responsible for infants’ and toddlers’ cognitive development