Best Practices for Infant and Toddler Care

About this resource
Reviewed: 2017

IEL Resource(s)

Online Resource(s)

Infant and Toddler Child Care Quality
This publication from the Child Care & Early Education Research Connections identifies factors that tend to predict higher quality care within arrangement types—family child care, center care, and relative care—and describes the range of quality found in each type.

Keys to High-Quality Child Care for Infants and Toddlers: Core Knowledge and Competencies for Infants and Toddlers
This fact sheet from the Zero to Three website describes common elements found in the core knowledge and competencies for infants and toddlers of 36 states, including age ranges, core knowledge categories, competency levels, and special considerations for children with special needs and cultural diversity.

Infant and Toddler Early Learning Guidelines Implementation Toolkit
Zero to Three provides the following resources, tools, and process suggestions which are intended to assist states and territories in engaging in a strategic planning process to support the implementation of Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers.

Choosing Quality Child Care
This resource from Zero to Three explains that all children—especially infants and toddlers—need a child care setting where they can thrive with caregivers who understand how to promote their healthy growth and development.

Research on Quality in Infant-Toddler Programs
This Eric Digest indicates that choice of high-quality care is critical for children’s optimal development.

Social Emotional Tips for Providers Caring for Infants
The Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation explains that the quality of infants’ relationships forms the foundation for their social and emotional health.

DAP with Infants and Toddlers, Ages Birth – 3
This page on the National Association for the Education of Young Children describes developmentally appropriate practice for infants and toddlers and provides resources for providers.

Including Relationship-Based Care Practices in Infant-Toddler Care: Implications for Practice and Policy
This brief from the Network of Infant/Toddler Researchers describes relationship-based care practices and the research support for a focus on relationships in infant and toddler care. It emphasizes two specific relationship-based care supports – primary caregiving and continuity of care.


Zero to Three
National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families.

National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education
This organization develops and maintains national healthy and safety standards for early childhood care and education.

National Association for the Education of Young Children
This organization unifies educators while providing research-based resources for families.

Additional Resource(s)

Developing Quality Care for Young Children: How to Turn Early Care Settings into Magical Places
Nettie Becker and Paul Becker
Corwin Press, 2009

Prime Times: A Handbook for Excellence in Infant and Toddler Programs 2nd Edition
Jim Greenman, Anne Stonehouse, and Gigi Schweikert
Redleaf Press, 2008

Caring for Infants & Toddlers in Groups: Developmentally Appropriate Practice 2nd Edition
J Ronald Rally and Zero to Three
Zero to Three, 2008

Educating and Caring for Very Young Children: The Infant/Toddler Curriculum 2nd Edition
Doris Bergen, Rebecca Reid, and Louis Torelli
Teachers College Press, 2009