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Baby Wearing In Early Years Settings

October 5, 2022
5 minute read

Our aim in Early Years Education is to create safe, welcoming and nurturing environments to support the growth and development of little ones in our care. Positive relationships with the children and their families are of significant importance to the successful integration of any child into our settings.

Tree Tots Nursery

Our understanding of child development has grown. We now understand that children’s physical, neurological and psychological development is nurtured through positive relationships (all of which are supported through the use of babywearing and carrying).

Within Western culture we have seen a huge increase in the use of carriers amongst parents in the last 10 years. Along with increased numbers in breastfeeding infants, contact naps and meeting children’s needs as and when little ones show their cues.

 “We have been learning about children’s brain development and how we can support the individual needs of every child. We are delighted to have babywearing be one of the tools to help us with that” (Brambles Outdoor Group)

As a result of the pandemic many children entering into Early Years Settings have less experience of being in larger social settings and being left with other adults. Financial pressures of the current climate are forcing parents to return to work earlier too. All this impacts us as childcare providers.

Over the last 4 years I have increasingly heard of the pressures of meeting home routines in settings when it comes to naps, comforting children as well as settling children into settings. The emotional and physical pressures on practitioners when a child struggles with transitions or needs to be held for sleep is huge. Let’s face it every parent and EYFS practitioner has wished they had an extra pair of hands at some point!

“As a group of day nurseries, Tops Day Nurseries are finding that more and more children are used to being carried at home, and therefore are expecting the same 1:1 care in the nursery environment. On a legal 1:3 / 1:4 ratio this can be particularly challenging for the staff team and distressing for the young child” (Tops Day Nurseries)

As a parent, and previous EYFS practitioner, I looked for a setting that would comfort and support naps through using a carrier. Unfortunately this was not something many places offered and on researching it appeared there were a number of concerns regarding the use of carriers for children’s well being as well as the staffs’. So I combined my skills as an Early Years Teacher and Carrying Consultant and created the course ‘Using carriers in Early Years Settings’.

How does carrying benefit Early Years Settings & Practitioners?

  • Supports development of safe & secure attachment
  • A way to replicate familiar home routines
  • Provides a place of calm and support – yet still engaged and able to access the learning opportunities
  • Aids sleep
  • Is supportive of practitioners physiology and posture whilst comforting and meeting little ones needs.
  • Great way to provide learning opportunities for those non mobile children

Common Concerns

When in a position to explore new policies and approaches it is vital to fully research and explore the benefits and potential risks and concerns.

The most common concern is that the use of carriers would put additional pressure on staff’s backs. This is where the importance of quality trained support comes in, to help choose the most appropriate carrier for your setting as well as to be taught how to carry comfortably and safely. The use of a well fitting, supportive carrier will distribute the weight evenly, putting less pressure on the carer’s body.

“since being trained by Kizzy, it has allowed our staff to feel really confident in using babywearing as they fully understand the practice that’s required to ensure the children’s safety is to the highest of standards whilst also knowing how to take care of themselves as Educators” (Tree Tots Day Nursery)

Some question the benefit there is to the child – this is a key question and something I personally really focus on during training. Carrying should only ever be used in the best interest of the child.

“Children learn and develop well in enabling environments with teaching and support from adults, who respond to their individual interests and needs and help them to build their learning over time.”(EYFS Framework 2021).

The use of a carrier enables caregivers to meet the needs of the individual child, whilst providing a secure and safe environment, building positive relationships which in turn enables the child to be more ready to engage in the learning opportunities provided and should not restrict their ability to explore and learn.

Tops Day Nursery

Every setting is unique, the demographic of the families and settings, the age and experience of staff, size of setting and even the approaches used. Carrying children in a sling/carrier I believe should be explored as a tool, and we all use tools for different things. This is where I believe bespoke training is crucial.

If you would like a no obligation phone chat to discuss your setting, concerns and any other questions why not book here. Babywearing South West is now able to offer bespoke training across the UK.

Kizzy Coll-Cats

Carrying & Parenting Consultant

Babywearing South West


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