Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators™ Online Module SE-1: Building Warm, Positive, and Nurturing Relationships
Infant-toddler educators can support positive and nurturing relationships by demonstrating warmth and affection through frequent verbal and nonverbal affirmations as they engage with children throughout the day. Genuine positive facial expressions and tone of voice can reassure children that they have supportive relationships to rely on in their caregiving environments. Research has shown that parental warmth and positive affect are associated with infant-toddler engagement and positive affect during activity and interactions—all important social attributes that contribute to children’s overall social and emotional intelligence (Brooks-Gunn, Berlin, & Fuligni, 2000; Cox, 2003; McIntyre & Dusek, 1995). This research on parental warmth suggests a role for infant-toddler educators as well. When early educators develop warm and positive relationships with young children, they can increase children’s engagement during activities and interactions, thereby supporting children’s development of critical social skills (Brooks-Gunn et al., 2000; Hamre & Pianta, 2001).