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Continuity of care, caregiver-child interactions, and toddler social competence and problem behaviors

Continuity of care is a recommended practice in child care intended to promote secure and supportive relationships between infants and toddlers and their caregivers. Toddlers (N = 115) between 12 and 24 months were observed in 30 continuity and 29 noncontinuity classrooms. The average duration of care for toddlers with caregivers was 14 months in the continuity rooms and 5 months in noncontinuity rooms. Toddlers observed in continuity rooms experienced higher levels of interactive involvement with their caregivers and were rated by their caregivers as having fewer problem behaviors compared with the toddlers in noncontinuity rooms. Toddlers in rooms with higher staff-child ratios also experienced more involved caregiving. We did not find evidence that the level of involved caregiving mediated the association between continuity of care and toddlers' social competence or problem behaviors. Practice or Policy: Continuity of care may be a promising practice for programs that strive to provide high-quality care for infants and toddlers. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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