How to Manage Stress in Childcare

The importance of managing stress

Childcare Responsibilities

Do you ever won­der how to man­age stress in child­care? As an ear­ly child­hood pro­fes­sion­al, you are respon­si­ble for meet­ing the needs of chil­dren, assist­ing par­ents and answer­ing their ques­tions, and work­ing effi­cient­ly with col­leagues. Simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, you must take care of your fam­i­ly, your own needs, and pur­sue your own per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al goals. 

Alto­geth­er, this is a lot of responsibility! 

As a result, when a stress­ful sit­u­a­tion aris­es, it can feel over­whelm­ing to man­age it on top of your reg­u­lar day-to-day respon­si­bil­i­ties. By iden­ti­fy­ing the stress’s source and being strate­gic with solv­ing the prob­lem, you can become more effi­cient at man­ag­ing stress and help avoid oth­er stress­ful sit­u­a­tions in the future.

Stress-Management Strategies

There are sev­er­al strate­gies to man­age stress. By iden­ti­fy­ing the source of stress, you can deter­mine the best strat­e­gy to mit­i­gate it.

Stress-man­age­ment strate­gies can be cat­e­go­rized as

  • imme­di­ate and personal, 
  • long-term and personal,
  • imme­di­ate and environmental,
  • long-term and environmental.

Immediate Personal Stress-Management Strategies

The goal of imme­di­ate per­son­al stress-man­age­ment strate­gies is to help over­come stress and gain con­trol over imme­di­ate phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal well-being. Ben­e­fi­cial strate­gies are those that help over­come stress but do not cause addi­tion­al problems.

Ben­e­fi­cial imme­di­ate per­son­al stress-man­age­ment strate­gies include

  • cor­rect breathing,
  • deep mus­cle relaxation,
  • phys­i­cal exercise,
  • use of imag­i­na­tion (such as envi­sion­ing a peace­ful place or time),
  • use of cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties (such as rec­og­niz­ing and redi­rect­ing neg­a­tive thoughts).

Addi­tion­al­ly, there are some strate­gies that may reduce stress in the moment, but because they cause addi­tion­al prob­lems they are not con­sid­ered ben­e­fi­cial. Strate­gies that are not ben­e­fi­cial include eat­ing, using alco­hol and tobac­co, and tak­ing drugs.

Long-Term Personal Stress-Management Strategies

Long-term per­son­al stress-man­age­ment strate­gies can help devel­op per­son­al resources. As a result, they can func­tion as buffers against the neg­a­tive effects of stress.

For exam­ple, effec­tive long-term per­son­al stress-man­age­ment strate­gies include

  • main­tain­ing a healthy body through a sen­si­ble diet, ade­quate sleep, and reg­u­lar exercise;
  • devel­op­ing a high sense of aware­ness of thoughts, feel­ings, atti­tudes, and values;
  • devel­op­ing a vari­ety of inter­ests, activ­i­ties, and per­son­al relationships;
  • find­ing a bal­ance between work, leisure, and per­son­al relationships;
  • devel­op­ing a reli­gious or philo­soph­i­cal out­look that gives per­spec­tive and pur­pose to the fun­da­men­tal dimen­sions of your life;
  • devel­op­ing a sense of humor about life that can both allow you to laugh at your­self and with others.

Immediate Environmental Stress-Management Strategies

The goal of imme­di­ate envi­ron­men­tal stress-man­age­ment strate­gies is to remove the source of stress and quick­ly imple­ment a solu­tion. The first step is to iden­ti­fy the source of the envi­ron­men­tal stress. As as result, many times this action alone will reduce the lev­el of stress and allow you to solve the problem.

For exam­ple, if you are pre­oc­cu­pied with a task and not giv­ing the chil­dren your undi­vid­ed atten­tion, the chil­dren are more like­ly to engage in inap­pro­pri­ate behav­ior. They are telling you with their behav­ior that their needs are not being met. By iden­ti­fy­ing the source of stress (your lack of atten­tion) and solv­ing the prob­lem (redi­rect­ing your atten­tion to the chil­dren), you can quick­ly restore a peace­ful environment.

Long-Term Environmental Stress-Management Strategies

The goal of long-term envi­ron­men­tal stress-man­age­ment strate­gies is to pre­vent and man­age stress with long-term solutions. 

A long-term envi­ron­men­tal stress man­age­ment strat­e­gy iden­ti­fies the source of stress and takes long-term steps to pre­vent and elim­i­nate. Long-term steps include cre­at­ing a new or mod­i­fied envi­ron­ment that is free of the stress­ful elements. 

For exam­ple, you can try man­ag­ing your time more effec­tive­ly, adjust­ing your room’s arrange­ment, and pro­vid­ing enough pop­u­lar toys to avoid con­flicts. You can also try chang­ing your own atti­tudes or values. 

Again, first iden­ti­fy the source of the envi­ron­men­tal stress. Take a step back from the stress­ful sit­u­a­tion and con­sid­er how you can change the envi­ron­ment to elim­i­nate and/or man­age the stress’s source. 

Con­sid­er the exam­ple giv­en above: you were pre­oc­cu­pied and the children’s behav­ior was inap­pro­pri­ate. While the short-term solu­tion is to give them your atten­tion, a long-term fix might be to sched­ule time for your task before the chil­dren arrive or dur­ing naptime. 

Or, you can rearrange the room so that you can com­plete your task while still inter­act­ing with the chil­dren. Anoth­er solu­tion might be to ask anoth­er care­giv­er to do the task. If appro­pri­ate, you could engage the chil­dren in the task with you or make up a sil­ly song for them to sing when­ev­er you must do the task. 

Looking to learn more about how to manage stress in childcare? Take Care Courses’ Caring for Yourself and Achieving Your Goals Training!

More strate­gies for man­ag­ing stress, build­ing resilience, and incor­po­rat­ing self-care into your rou­tine are cov­ered in detail in our three clock-hour course, Car­ing for Your­self and Achiev­ing Your Goals.

Addi­tion­al­ly, you will learn about avoid­ing job burnout and grow­ing both per­son­al­ly and professionally!

Care Courses Support

Please let us know how we can be of addi­tion­al assis­tance! Call us: 1–800-685‑7610, Mon­day through Fri­day, 9–5 ET, or email us days, evenings, and week­ends: We’re here to help!

How to Manage Stress in Childcare

The Benefits of Play in Early Childhood

In today’s blog we will dis­cuss the role of play in children’s devel­op­ment and how you can facil­i­tate children’s learn­ing through play. 

Top­ics for pro­mot­ing play in ear­ly child­hood are cov­ered in detail in our course, Play and Learn­ing in Ear­ly Childhood.

The role of play in children’s development

Play can be defined as children’s spon­ta­neous, self-direct­ed, self-cho­sen, and self-paced activ­i­ties. Play inte­grates children’s expe­ri­ences in mul­ti­ple areas of learn­ing. For exam­ple, while play­ing “restau­rant” young chil­dren may scrib­ble orders, set prices, pre­tend to read menus, count play mon­ey, or apply the con­cept of quan­ti­ty to serve meals to a spe­cif­ic num­ber of “cus­tomers,” learn­ing a lot more than they would have by com­plet­ing a work­sheet, while hav­ing fun. 

Dur­ing play, chil­dren make deci­sions, are moti­vat­ed by their nat­ur­al desire to explore and under­stand the world around them, and become ful­ly immersed in the process. Dur­ing play, chil­dren fol­low their curios­i­ty, strength­en their prob­lem-solv­ing skills, exper­i­ment with a vari­ety of approach­es to reach goals, and keep try­ing until they feel successful.

Play accel­er­ates children’s brain devel­op­ment and pro­motes learn­ing in all domains. You can play an impor­tant role in pro­mot­ing the ben­e­fits of children’s play by select­ing appro­pri­ate play mate­ri­als, pro­vid­ing an excit­ing learn­ing envi­ron­ment, and being respon­sive to children’s interests.

Choosing play materials

A thought­ful selec­tion of play mate­ri­als helps max­i­mize the effec­tive­ness of play in pro­mot­ing devel­op­ment and learning.

  • Open-end­ed toys can be used in many dif­fer­ent ways and pro­mote exper­i­men­ta­tion and cre­ativ­i­ty. Toys such as blocks, play food, dress-up clothes, and water tables allow chil­dren to exper­i­ment and use their imagination.
  • Closed-end­ed toys have a def­i­nite use and end­ing point. For exam­ple, puz­zle and shape sorter activ­i­ties are fin­ished once they are assem­bled. They are good for build­ing atten­tion and learn­ing to com­plete a task.
  • Loose parts are mate­ri­als that have no par­tic­u­lar or defined pur­pose. Hav­ing loose parts avail­able to chil­dren encour­ages cre­ativ­i­ty and imag­i­na­tion. Exam­ples of loose parts include card­board box­es, stones, scarves and fab­ric, and plas­tic bottles.

Vari­ety ensures that chil­dren enjoy many dif­fer­ent types of learn­ing expe­ri­ences. Include play mate­ri­als that offer vary­ing lev­els of dif­fi­cul­ty. Blocks are a per­fect exam­ple of toys that chal­lenge chil­dren at every lev­el of development. 

While ensur­ing that cer­tain toys, such as blocks, are always avail­able, rotate the array of toys and mate­ri­als avail­able for children’s use at any one time. Chil­dren will show much more inter­est in items that have been put away for a time than items that are always available.

Designing the learning environment

An invit­ing and func­tion­al play envi­ron­ment allows chil­dren to engage with play mate­ri­als to their fullest extent. When design­ing your play envi­ron­ment, con­sid­er the fol­low­ing questions:

  • Are learn­ing areas clear­ly defined and easy to supervise?
  • Is there ade­quate space for noisy and active play?
  • Are active areas close to each oth­er and sep­a­rat­ed from qui­et spaces?
  • Is there a cozy area for chil­dren to relax and enjoy quiet-time?

Facilitating play

Your respon­sive­ness to children’s needs and inter­ests is crit­i­cal in pro­mot­ing the ben­e­fits of play. When super­vis­ing children’s play, con­sid­er the fol­low­ing edu­ca­tion­al strategies:

  • Offer play expe­ri­ences that cor­re­spond to children’s inter­ests, diverse abil­i­ties, and learn­ing styles.
  • Engage chil­dren in mak­ing decisions.
  • Care­ful­ly observe children’s play and judge the amount of time, sup­port, and guid­ance they need at any giv­en time.
  • Observe and record each child’s devel­op­ment to assess their indi­vid­ual needs, mile­stones to be reached, and set goals.
  • Fre­quent­ly reeval­u­ate and assess the play and learn­ing envi­ron­ment to ensure that it con­tin­ues to pro­vide appro­pri­ate chal­lenges as chil­dren progress along the path of devel­op­ment and learning.
  • Sched­ule the day so that chil­dren have plen­ty of unin­ter­rupt­ed, unrushed time to engage in play and learning.

Care Courses’ Play and Learning in Early Childhood Course

Learn more about the fun­da­men­tal role of play in young children’s devel­op­ment, stages of play, ben­e­fits of dif­fer­ent types of play, and how you can sup­port children’s learn­ing through play in our course, Play and Learn­ing in Ear­ly Childhood.

Care Courses Support

Please let us know how we can be of addi­tion­al assis­tance! Call us: 1–800-685‑7610, Mon­day through Fri­day, 9–5 ET, or email us days, evenings, and week­ends: We’re here to help!

What is Wrong with Time-Out?


Time-out, also called social exclu­sion, is a dis­ci­pline strat­e­gy that involves iso­lat­ing chil­dren as pun­ish­ment for inap­pro­pri­ate behavior.

In a time-out, a child is left alone to “think about what they did.” No one gives the child atten­tion. Although this strat­e­gy may sound effec­tive because it removes a child from a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion, it does noth­ing to pre­pare the child for nav­i­gat­ing dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions in the future.

The trouble with time-out

In a brain scan, the pain caused by iso­la­tion dur­ing pun­ish­ment (called rela­tion­al pain) can look the same as phys­i­cal abuse. Stud­ies focus­ing on the brain’s adapt­abil­i­ty show that repeat expe­ri­ences of iso­la­tion can change the phys­i­cal struc­ture of the brain. Accord­ing­ly, strate­gies such as time-out can have a sig­nif­i­cant neg­a­tive impact on children’s rapid­ly devel­op­ing brains.

Time-out does not acknowl­edge a child’s needs or per­spec­tives. When a child acts out, the child is not try­ing to ruin your day. Often, chil­dren act in inap­pro­pri­ate ways in attempts to meet entire­ly appro­pri­ate needs. A child’s behav­ior may be a sign of emo­tion­al dis­tress. Iso­lat­ing a child who is expe­ri­enc­ing emo­tion­al dis­tress is the oppo­site of meet­ing the child’s needs.

When young chil­dren do not have the tools to com­mu­ni­cate their needs, they may resort to hit­ting, yelling, or over­pow­er­ing oth­er chil­dren. When chil­dren are sent to time-out for such actions, oth­er chil­dren may begin to view them as “bad.”

Am I bad?

A child who is repeat­ed­ly in time-out is also like­ly to view them­self this way. Being labeled “bad” low­ers a child’s self-esteem and will only per­pet­u­ate inap­pro­pri­ate behav­ior. Time-out fos­ters feel­ings of resent­ment, shame, and humiliation. 

If you have used time-out as a method of dis­ci­pline, con­sid­er how effec­tive this strat­e­gy has been. Are the same chil­dren often sent to time-out? Has time-out changed these children’s behav­ior? Has it made them more cooperative?

When a child is placed in time-out, it deprives the child of the oppor­tu­ni­ty to find effec­tive ways to meet their own needs. 

Look for the cause of a child’s behavior

Is the child over­stim­u­lat­ed? Did anoth­er child take their toy? Did the child miss their nap?

If you can iden­ti­fy a child’s needs, you can help the child learn appro­pri­ate meth­ods for meet­ing their needs themselves.

What is an effective alternative to time-out?

When a child acts out, con­sid­er inter­ven­ing with a time-in. Time-in is a pos­i­tive guid­ance tech­nique. Time-in means work­ing with a child indi­vid­u­al­ly to find a solu­tion to the prob­lem that spurred their inap­pro­pri­ate behavior. 

“I like the proac­tive nature of the “time-In” approach and love to see the crit­i­cal think­ing and lan­guage skills that are being devel­oped when teach­ers and chil­dren have those inten­tion­al conversations.”

- an ear­ly child­hood professional

Steps for a successful time-in

  • Guide the child who is strug­gling away from the prob­lem­at­ic situation.
  • Soothe the child.
  • Take time to sit and talk with the child.
    • Dis­cuss how the child is feeling.
    • Talk about what hap­pened to cause the inap­pro­pri­ate behavior.
    • Help the child brain­storm what they could do dif­fer­ent­ly next time.

“I like to focus on care­ful plan­ning to pre­vent unwant­ed behav­iors or inter­ac­tions. The class­room envi­ron­ment is some­thing that we as teach­ers can con­trol and it is a pow­er­ful tool for cre­at­ing a space where all stu­dents can succeed.”

- an ear­ly child­hood professional

Slow down and connect

Time-in pro­vides an oppor­tu­ni­ty for a child to slow down and con­nect with you. Time-in respects a child’s need to build their rela­tion­ship with you.

Young chil­dren often feel big, intense, even scary emo­tions that they can­not han­dle on their own. As a result, they need guid­ance to help them learn to man­age their big feel­ings. They need your help to pause and reflect on their behavior.

Trade time-out for time-in

Trad­ing time-out for time-in can help a child devel­op self-reg­u­la­tion. Self-reg­u­la­tion is the abil­i­ty to rec­og­nize emo­tions when some­thing is frus­trat­ing. Self-reg­u­la­tion is a per­son­’s abil­i­ty to calm them­self down. 

For a very young child who is not yet able to com­mu­ni­cate ver­bal­ly, sim­ply com­fort­ing and remov­ing the child from a dis­tress­ing sit­u­a­tion can help. This can help them learn to reg­u­late their emo­tions and seek help the next time they feel over­whelmed. On the oth­er hand, putting a child in time out does not help the child learn to reflect. Leav­ing a child alone with their big feel­ings does not help com­fort the child.

By brain­storm­ing solu­tions with a child you can pro­vide the child with the tools to solve issues on their own in the future. 

Although time-out may seem like a quick solu­tion, it will not pro­duce long-term pos­i­tive results.

Care Courses’ Challenging Behavior: Positive Guidance in Child Care Course

Giv­ing chil­dren the oppor­tu­ni­ty to express their point of view and explain how they feel can help them feel respect­ed. Learn more about respect­ful ways to han­dle children’s chal­leng­ing behav­iors by check­ing out our course, Chal­leng­ing Behav­ior: Pos­i­tive Guid­ance in Child Care.

Care Courses Support

Please con­tact us and let us know how we can be of addi­tion­al assis­tance! Call us: 1–800-685‑7610, Mon­day through Fri­day, 9–5 ET, or email us days, evenings and week­ends: We’re here to help!

Music and Movement Activities for Children

Who Ate the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?

Music and move­ment activ­i­ties are an impor­tant part of any ear­ly child­hood pro­gram. Music and move­ment activ­i­ties are fun for every­one, both chil­dren and adults alike. 

Who, When, and Where

Chil­dren care less about your musi­cal tal­ent than they do about your enthu­si­asm and will­ing­ness to sing, move, and play along with them. As a result, any­one, regard­less of musi­cal tal­ent, can sing, dance, and guide chil­dren through music and move­ment activities.

Music and move­ment activ­i­ties can hap­pen any­where, any­time. As a mat­ter of fact, these activ­i­ties can take place in the home or cen­ter, on the play­ground, or dur­ing tran­si­tions and oth­er dai­ly rou­tines. You don’t always have to go to the music room or wait for “music time.” Music and move­ment time is all the time!

The National Association for Music Education

The Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion for Music Edu­ca­tion (NAfME) explains that in ear­ly child­hood, music edu­ca­tion is main­ly about intro­duc­ing chil­dren to a vari­ety of musi­cal expe­ri­ences. It is impor­tant to note that ear­ly child­hood music edu­ca­tion is about sup­port­ing every child’s capac­i­ty for music learning. 

It is not about teach­ing them how to play instru­ments cor­rect­ly or prepar­ing them for per­for­mances. As we not­ed before, you do not need any spe­cial musi­cal tal­ent or abil­i­ty to pro­vide mean­ing­ful musi­cal learn­ing opportunities.

Helping New Children Feel Welcome

“Who Ate the Cook­ies from the Cook­ie Jar?” is a fun activ­i­ty to use with new chil­dren (par­tic­u­lar­ly preschool­ers) when they join your pro­gram. This activ­i­ty focus­es on lis­ten­ing and learn­ing names, and as a result is an excel­lent way to help a new child feel includ­ed. Addi­tion­al­ly, chil­dren who are already in your pro­gram will quick­ly learn the new child’s name in a fun and engag­ing way.

Activity: Who Ate the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?

For this activ­i­ty choose a place where the chil­dren can gath­er in a cir­cle. Addi­tion­al­ly, you may want to pro­vide an emp­ty cook­ie jar as a prop.

All: Who ate the cook­ie from the cook­ie jar?

(Child Named) ate the cook­ie from the cook­ie jar.

Child Named: Who, me?

Group: Yes, you!

Child Named: Could­n’t be!

Group: Then who?

(Child Named selects anoth­er child, and the game repeats in an end­less loop as long as desired.)

Try out these ideas to expand learn­ing:

1. Ask the chil­dren who likes cook­ies. Dis­cuss their favorite kinds of cook­ies and on what occa­sions they eat them.

2. Ask the chil­dren what shape each type of cook­ie is. Ask them to sit in those shapes.

3. To get start­ed, you may want to do an activ­i­ty to select the first “child named” for the first round, or you may just want to call upon a par­tic­u­lar child. After­wards, if using an emp­ty cook­ie jar, intro­duce it and ask the chil­dren what should be in there, and who they think took the cook­ies! Then, pick the per­son you think ate the cook­ies as the first “child named.”

4. Old­er chil­dren may be able to incor­po­rate a body per­cus­sion pat­tern (“pat knees, pat knees, clap, clap”) on steady beats.

Share Your Music and Movement Activities!

Share in the com­ments below what songs and music and move­ment activ­i­ties you have used with the chil­dren in your care. Try the “Who Ate the Cook­ies from the Cook­ie Jar?” activ­i­ty above and let us know how it goes!

Care Courses’ Music and Movement Course

Look­ing for more music and move­ment activ­i­ties? Take our course Music and Move­ment!

Cre­at­ed for all types of child­care facil­i­ties and homes, this course will help you under­stand the impor­tance of cre­at­ing, lis­ten­ing to, and mov­ing to music dur­ing ear­ly child­hood. This course includes music and move­ment activ­i­ties that are appro­pri­ate for infants, tod­dlers, and preschool­ers, includ­ing those with spe­cial needs. 

Addi­tion­al­ly, you will learn how to include the children’s fam­i­lies and cul­tures in mean­ing­ful ways, and dis­cov­er the many edu­ca­tion­al, social-emo­tion­al, and phys­i­cal ben­e­fits of incor­po­rat­ing music and move­ment into your program.

Care Courses Support Team

Please let us know how we can be of addi­tion­al assistance! 

Call us: 1–800-685‑7610, Mon­day through Fri­day, 9–5 ET, or email us days, evenings and week­ends: We’re here to help!

Music and Movement Activities for Children

Block Play in Child Care: Spatial Reasoning Skills for Young Children

Today’s blog dis­cuss­es some of the many ben­e­fits of block play in child care. These con­cepts are tak­en from our course Block Play. 

Edu­ca­tors have long rec­og­nized that the block cen­ter is one of the most impor­tant learn­ing cen­ters in an ear­ly child­hood set­ting. Among the many types of blocks to choose from, unit blocks are the most essen­tial. In fact, unit blocks are uni­ver­sal­ly accept­ed as one of the most impor­tant learn­ing tools avail­able for young chil­dren. Among many oth­er ben­e­fits, block play can assist chil­dren with their spa­tial rea­son­ing and awareness. 

Spatial Reasoning and Awareness

Spa­tial rea­son­ing, also referred to as spa­tial aware­ness or spa­tial think­ing, refers to the abil­i­ty to think about objects in three dimensions—to be able to visu­al­ize objects in space, under­stand objects’ spa­tial rela­tion­ships to each oth­er, and men­tal­ly rotate or manip­u­late objects to form new spa­tial rela­tion­ships. This includes a person’s aware­ness of how they inter­act with space. Research has indi­cat­ed that spa­tial rea­son­ing skills cor­re­late with achieve­ment in math­e­mat­ics and strong­ly pre­dict who will pur­sue STEM careers lat­er in life.

As not­ed above, block play in child care set­tings can help chil­dren devel­op spa­tial aware­ness and spa­tial rea­son­ing skills. As chil­dren place blocks in var­i­ous posi­tions, they expe­ri­ence var­i­ous spa­tial con­cepts. For exam­ple, learn­ing to build enclosed spaces and expe­ri­enc­ing the con­cept of an enclo­sure helps chil­dren under­stand the abstract idea of space. Block play pro­vides oppor­tu­ni­ties for chil­dren to expe­ri­ence and talk about con­cepts relat­ed to an object’s posi­tion in space and the spa­tial rela­tion­ships of objects to each other—for exam­ple, above, under, beside, around, and through.

Problem Solving

Play­ing with blocks fur­ther presents chil­dren with oppor­tu­ni­ties to address chal­lenges and solve prob­lems. When play­ing with blocks, chil­dren build struc­tures over and over again as the struc­tures fall and need to be adjust­ed and redesigned. Chil­dren dis­cov­er that there are mul­ti­ple ways to solve many prob­lems. This process is close­ly relat­ed to real-world engi­neer­ing tasks and pro­vides chil­dren with a foun­da­tion of impor­tant prac­ti­cal skills.

Inter­est­ed in learn­ing more? Take our course Block Play and learn to rec­og­nize the many skills that block play pro­motes. The course cov­ers the stages of block play, how block play encour­ages phys­i­cal, social, and emo­tion­al devel­op­ment, and more. 

Look­ing for more free child care train­ing con­tent? Check out our blog about the impor­tance of relax­ation in The Ben­e­fits of Relax­ation in Child Care.

Care Courses Support

Please let us know how we can be of addi­tion­al assis­tance! Call us: 1–800-685‑7610, Mon­day through Fri­day, 9–5 ET, or email us days, evenings and week­ends: We’re here to help!

The Benefits of Relaxation in Child Care

Look­ing for a new child­care train­ing course or annu­al train­ing hours? Take our five clock-hour course Child Abuse and Neglect: A Care­giver’s Guide to Adverse Child­hood Expe­ri­ences.

Take this course to learn ways to rec­og­nize forms of child abuse, neglect, and oth­er adverse child­hood expe­ri­ences (ACEs) includ­ing house­hold dys­func­tion and expo­sure to racism, as well as the long-term effects of such expe­ri­ences. Learn the rea­sons for and results of child abuse and neglect, typ­i­cal traits of abu­sive or neglect­ful par­ents, the caregiver’s respon­si­bil­i­ty in report­ing it, and ways care­givers can help chil­dren who are the vic­tims of child abuse, neglect, and oth­er ACEs. Learn spe­cif­ic strate­gies to strength­en fam­i­lies and reduce risk for chil­dren of all ages. Read a small excerpt from the course here:

Childcare Training Excerpt: The Benefits of Relaxation

Relax­ation refers to any exer­cise that helps remove stress, anx­i­ety, or fear from our minds. Relax­ation helps chil­dren slow down and “unplug,” which is cru­cial in an increas­ing­ly tech­no­log­i­cal world as well as a busy ear­ly child­hood pro­gram set­ting. Along­side out­door recre­ation, relax­ation pro­vides chil­dren with a good bal­ance between being “on” and “off.” Relax­ation can also allow chil­dren to devel­op their cog­ni­tive skills, includ­ing atten­tion and pat­tern recognition.

Relax­ation has mul­ti­ple emo­tion­al and phys­i­cal ben­e­fits for chil­dren. It relax­es the mind with­out the neg­a­tive con­se­quences that can emerge when chil­dren engage in com­pet­i­tive play and sports. Relax­ing the mind improves children’s focus and has pos­i­tive spillover effects for phys­i­cal health. Research shows that prac­tic­ing relax­ation exer­cis­es can help chil­dren suf­fer­ing from high blood pres­sure, immune dys­func­tion, headaches, and gas­troin­testi­nal distress.

Relaxation Exercises, Deep Breathing and Quiet Places in Child Care

There are many ways to adopt relax­ation exer­cis­es into your pro­gram. Chil­dren will enjoy move­ment-based activ­i­ties such as yoga that can help them become calmer and improve their focus. Cre­ative visu­al­iza­tion and art activ­i­ties can help strength­en children’s imag­i­na­tion skills. All chil­dren will enjoy and ben­e­fit from these exer­cis­es. These exer­cis­es are par­tic­u­lar­ly help­ful for reduc­ing children’s stress and mit­i­gat­ing the impacts of ACEs.

One such method for relax­ation is deep breath­ing. Prac­tic­ing deep breath­ing for even a few min­utes dai­ly can help chil­dren learn to man­age strong emo­tions and find a sense of calm when they are stressed.

Another way to help children relax in child care…

… is to cre­ate a qui­et place for children’s relax­ation exer­cis­es. Prac­tic­ing relax­ation exer­cis­es in a soft, grassy, and spa­cious area—near trees for shade—is ide­al. If your pro­gram has lim­it­ed out­door space, cre­ate a relax­ation area indoors, prefer­ably in a qui­et cor­ner away from entryways.

Arrange fur­ni­ture and light­ing in the space to cre­ate a relax­ing envi­ron­ment for chil­dren. A large, com­fort­able rug is a good way to clear­ly des­ig­nate the space. Lamps pro­duce a soft­er light than over­head light­ing. To ensure children’s com­fort, place pil­lows or cush­ions on the rug to cre­ate a cozy, acces­si­ble environment.

Explain to chil­dren that in addi­tion to its use for spe­cif­ic indi­vid­ual or group relax­ation activ­i­ties, this qui­et space is avail­able any time they are feel­ing stressed, need a moment to man­age their emo­tions and find a sense of calm, or sim­ply need a moment of quiet.

Take our five clock hour child care train­ing course Child Abuse and Neglect: A Care­giver’s Guide to Adverse Child­hood Expe­ri­ences to learn more! Care Cours­es offers con­ve­nient, afford­able online and course­book options, unlim­it­ed free train­er sup­port with all of our ear­ly child care train­ing, and online child­care class­es that can be com­plet­ed at your own pace. 

Look­ing for more free child­care train­ing con­tent? Check out our blog: Achoo! What to Do About Envi­ron­men­tal Aller­gies in Child Care.

Look­ing for a free 1‑clock-hour child care course? Take our free course, Play­ing Out­doors!

Care Courses Support

Please let us know how we can be of addi­tion­al assis­tance! Call us: 1–800-685‑7610, Mon­day through Fri­day, 9–5 ET, or email us days, evenings and week­ends: We’re here to help!

How to Have a Successful Circle Time

Circle time in child care

Gath­er ’round! It’s cir­cle time! Cir­cle time is a rit­u­al used by many ear­ly child­hood pro­grams to begin the day and then again to mark the end of the day. In this post we will talk about some ways to have a suc­cess­ful cir­cle time.

Cir­cle time is a time for chil­dren and ear­ly child­hood providers to gath­er in a cir­cle, come togeth­er, con­verse, and do fun activ­i­ties together.

This makes cir­cle time an impor­tant part of the day! 

So, how do you have a successful circle time? 

In the morning

In the morn­ing, cir­cle time can give chil­dren time to adjust and say hel­lo to each oth­er. It is a time for them to learn what they’ll be explor­ing that day. 

In the afternoon

At the end of the day, chil­dren and care­givers come togeth­er in a cir­cle once the room has been tidied and cleaned. This rou­tine is a great way to help chil­dren tran­si­tion between your pro­gram and their home. Read this week’s blog for tips and tricks on cre­at­ing a cir­cle time that is right for your ear­ly child­hood program!

Transitioning to Circle Time

Cap­ture the children’s atten­tion before you announce a tran­si­tion. Begin the tran­si­tion with plen­ty of time for the chil­dren to com­plete the process with­out being rushed.

Here are some exam­ples of how to gen­tly let chil­dren know that it’s almost time to fin­ish up an activ­i­ty they are cur­rent­ly enjoying:

Verbal cues

Ver­bal cues: Make a sim­ple announce­ment. For exam­ple: “You can play five more min­utes before it is time to clean up the toys for cir­cle time.”

Nonverbal cues

Non­ver­bal cues: Tap chil­dren gen­tly on the shoul­ders. Make eye con­tact at the child’s level.


Sounds: Play a par­tic­u­lar piece of music or sing a song that chil­dren learn to asso­ciate with get­ting ready for cir­cle time. Ring a ser­vice bell or small chime, such as a wind chime. Do not over­whelm them with loud noises.

Visual cues

Visu­al cues: Place cush­ions in a cir­cle on the floor or the par­tic­u­lar rug where cir­cle time hap­pens. Post a visu­al sched­ule with pho­tos of the sequence of dai­ly activ­i­ties and point to the next one. Set a timer a few min­utes before it is time to change activ­i­ties; hour­glass timers are less dis­tract­ing than your phone or anoth­er elec­tron­ic device.

Games and pretend play

Games and pre­tend play: Teach chil­dren to pre­tend to be a snake by hold­ing onto each other’s shoul­ders, form­ing a snake-like line; slith­er around the space, even­tu­al­ly slith­er­ing into a cir­cle for cir­cle time.

How to Facilitate Smooth Transitions

Make sure that cir­cle time begins and ends with calm­ing activ­i­ties, not loud or ener­getic ones. For exam­ple, begin­ning and end­ing cir­cle time by read­ing a sto­ry can make tran­si­tions run smooth­ly and avoid over­stim­u­lat­ing children.

Do the same activ­i­ty at the begin­ning and end of each cir­cle time. For exam­ple, begin each cir­cle time with a song that the chil­dren love. This way chil­dren will like­ly be excit­ed and ready to begin. Rou­tine cre­ates a sense of famil­iar­i­ty which chil­dren find comforting.

Cir­cle time is a good oppor­tu­ni­ty to reit­er­ate expec­ta­tions and rules, such as kind ways to treat oth­ers. Com­mu­ni­cate your rules and expec­ta­tions clear­ly in a sim­ple, pos­i­tive man­ner. Rules and expec­ta­tions should be repeat­ed through­out the day, but stat­ing them dur­ing cir­cle time can be par­tic­u­lar­ly help­ful because it offers chil­dren a qui­et moment to think about them and ask questions.

Dis­cov­er fur­ther strate­gies for tran­si­tion­ing between activ­i­ties, in our child care train­ing course Tran­si­tions and Oth­er Trou­ble­some Times!

Adapting Circle Time to Accommodate Children

The key to a suc­cess­ful cir­cle time is pay­ing atten­tion and adapt­ing to children’s unique inter­ests and abil­i­ties. Ask them what their inter­ests are. What activ­i­ties make them feel excit­ed? How can you keep them engaged? Con­sid­er what is appro­pri­ate for their age and devel­op­men­tal ability.

Keep activ­i­ties and con­ver­sa­tions focused on the chil­dren. A cir­cle time where chil­dren par­tic­i­pate, ask and answer ques­tions, and inter­act with oth­er chil­dren will be far more ben­e­fi­cial than one where they only sit and lis­ten to you talk. Let chil­dren influ­ence cir­cle time top­ics and activ­i­ties. Give chil­dren choic­es, but give each choice one at a time. Do you want to sing to “The Wheels on the Bus”? Or, should we read the book about farm animals?

Teaching Through Circle Time

Cir­cle time is an bril­liant oppor­tu­ni­ty for chil­dren to learn by doing. Make sure the activ­i­ties teach­ing these con­cepts fall with­in the children’s devel­op­men­tal abil­i­ties. If a child is over­whelmed by activ­i­ties beyond his or her devel­op­men­tal abil­i­ty, the child may be dis­cour­aged from par­tic­i­pat­ing in future cir­cle times.

Chil­dren touch or manip­u­late objects and even their own bod­ies to under­stand a new idea. Here are some exam­ples of hands-on learn­ing activities:

  • Hav­ing chil­dren get into groups of two and ask­ing, “how many legs do you have in your group? What about fin­gers?” teach­es con­cepts of quan­ti­ty and one-to-one cor­re­spon­dence. (Count­ing the total num­ber of fin­gers of more than two chil­dren is typ­i­cal­ly a skill only some old­er preschool­ers are ready for.) 
  • “Peo­ple sort­ing” activ­i­ties help chil­dren devel­op clas­si­fi­ca­tion con­cepts. For exam­ple, ask chil­dren to arrange them­selves in sets. Chil­dren with some­thing red on their cloth­ing to gath­er on one side, every­one else on the oth­er. Or chil­dren wear­ing shoes with laces, shoes with straps, or slip-ons. Ask a vol­un­teer from each group to count how many chil­dren are in their group.
  • Danc­ing with inter­ac­tive music teach­es bod­i­ly con­trol. Songs can instruct chil­dren to skip, hop, jump, move like dif­fer­ent ani­mals, move slow­ly or quick­ly, and more.

Problem Solving

Make cir­cle time brief if your group is very young and strug­gles to stay engaged. If very few chil­dren stay focused dur­ing an activ­i­ty it may be a sign that the cir­cle time is too long.

Pre­vent dis­trac­tions by hav­ing cir­cle time in a qui­et, low-traf­fic area. For instance, if a par­tic­u­lar child is eas­i­ly dis­tract­ed, have the child sit next to you or anoth­er care­giv­er to help keep the child engaged. 

Avoid sit­u­a­tions that require chil­dren to sit around wait­ing. For exam­ple, are you plan­ning an activ­i­ty that requires prepa­ra­tion? Make sure to get the nec­es­sary mate­ri­als orga­nized beforehand.

Can your pro­gram accom­mo­date mul­ti­ple cir­cle times? Try split­ting large groups of chil­dren into small­er groups. This can help you to focus on chil­dren who need extra assis­tance with new con­cepts. It can also help chil­dren who strug­gle to stay focused in large groups. Addi­tion­al­ly, small­er groups can help you tai­lor con­ver­sa­tions and activ­i­ties to the spe­cif­ic needs and inter­ests of children.

Let us know how you make cir­cle time suc­cess­ful by post­ing below!

Learn more about how to man­age your days with young chil­dren by check­ing out our cours­es Tran­si­tions and Oth­er Trou­ble­some Times (men­tioned above), and Cre­at­ing Sched­ule and Rou­tines!

Look­ing for healthy snack times for chil­dren? Check out our blog on healthy fall snacks for children. 

Care Courses Support

Please con­tact us and let us know how we can be of addi­tion­al assis­tance! Call us: 1–800-685‑7610, Mon­day through Fri­day, 9–5 ET, or email us days, evenings and week­ends: We’re here to help!

Achoo! What to Do About Environmental Allergies in Child Care

Dust mites, pet and ani­mal dan­der, pollen, and insect stings are all envi­ron­men­tal aller­gens that fre­quent ear­ly child­hood pro­grams. So, how can we reduce children’s expo­sure to envi­ron­men­tal aller­gies in child care? 

Since many chil­dren expe­ri­ence their first aller­gic reac­tion in a child care or school set­ting, it is crit­i­cal that we under­stand what to look for and how to pre­vent aller­gic reac­tions from hap­pen­ing. In today’s high­light, we dis­cuss four of the top envi­ron­men­tal aller­gens in child care. Tak­en from our course, Under­stand­ing and Man­ag­ing Aller­gies in Child Care, these tips will help you min­i­mize children’s expo­sure to envi­ron­men­tal allergens. 

Top Environmental Allergens in Child Care:

1. Dust Mites

These are micro­scop­ic bugs who thrive in warm, humid envi­ron­ments, such as in bed­ding, car­pet­ing, and fur­ni­ture. Pre­vent dust mite expo­sure by clean­ing your car­pets reg­u­lar­ly. Use clean­ing prod­ucts that remove aller­gens. You’ll want to avoid any unnec­es­sary chem­i­cals and fra­grances. Your state’s reg­u­la­tions can help you find aller­gen-safe clean­ing products.

2. Pet Hair and Dander

Fur and dan­der can be brought into the facil­i­ty by chil­dren who have pets at home. The more chil­dren in your care who have a dog, cat, or oth­er ani­mal, the more like­ly you’ll have a case of pet-relat­ed aller­gen expo­sure. Fur and dan­der float in the air and accu­mu­late on the car­pet, uphol­stered fur­ni­ture, and even on human hair! Invest in air puri­fiers and HEPA/high-effi­cien­cy vac­u­um clean­ers. They’ll get those pesky aller­gens out of your air and car­pet­ing. Fre­quent­ly mop­ping and laun­der­ing will also help to min­i­mize this expo­sure risk.

3. Plant, Tree, and Grass Pollen

Out­door play is essen­tial to chil­dren, allow­ing them to be cre­ative, social, and phys­i­cal­ly active, but it makes run­ning into pollen unavoid­able. This is espe­cial­ly true dur­ing pollen sea­sons when pollen den­si­ty is high­est. These sea­sons vary with plant type and almost cov­er the whole year, with tree pollen sea­son last­ing from March to May, grass pollen sea­son last­ing from May to July, and rag­weed sea­son last­ing from August to ear­ly win­ter. Tree pollen is espe­cial­ly trou­ble­some since it is made up of fin­er par­ti­cles than grass and plant pol­lens. The wind can blow it across miles, spread­ing it through the air.

Although you can’t con­trol the out­doors, you can pre­pare treat­ment plans for children’s aller­gic reac­tions. You might admin­is­ter anti­his­t­a­mines, decon­ges­tants, and nasal sprays to relieve them. Always fol­low your state reg­u­la­tions when admin­is­ter­ing medications.

You can also min­i­mize expo­sure by research­ing the plants in your com­mu­ni­ty and the time of day when their pol­lens are most active. Sched­ule out­door play around these times. Mon­i­tor your community’s pollen counts by vis­it­ing the Nation­al Aller­gy Bureau’s sta­tis­tics web­site.

4. Bee and Other Insect Stings

While play­ing among the flow­ers and grass, chil­dren may encounter bees and insects. Instruct chil­dren to be cau­tious around these areas. Bee and insect stingers can inject ven­om into the children’s skin, caus­ing an aller­gic reac­tion. For some high­ly sen­si­tive chil­dren, ana­phy­lax­is may occur. Approx­i­mate­ly every 4 in 1,000 chil­dren react severe­ly to bee stings. If a child breaks out in hives after a sting, be ready to admin­is­ter the right med­ica­tions. Have a staff mem­ber on hand who is approved to admin­is­ter epi­neph­rine to pre­vent anaphylaxis.

Allergy Confidentiality

It is impor­tant to main­tain the con­fi­den­tial­i­ty of chil­dren in your care who have aller­gies. How­ev­er, some states require that infor­ma­tion regard­ing children’s aller­gies be post­ed in child care facil­i­ties. Many states require that cer­tain details of children’s aller­gies be promi­nent­ly post­ed in child care cen­ters where employ­ees, par­ents, and oth­ers may eas­i­ly view them. You must be famil­iar with and fol­low your state’s rules regard­ing the post­ing of any aller­gy-relat­ed infor­ma­tion. With­in the lim­its of such rules, respect children’s and fam­i­lies’ pri­va­cy. One way to do this is to post children’s aller­gy infor­ma­tion with a cov­er sheet on top, so that it is read­i­ly avail­able with­out being vis­i­ble to peo­ple walk­ing by. These lists should be post­ed wher­ev­er chil­dren go dur­ing the day, includ­ing class­rooms, vehi­cles, and play­grounds. Addi­tion­al­ly, place them in staff rooms, first aid kits, and field trip materials.

Take Understanding and Managing Allergies in Child Care to learn more!

After tak­ing this course, you will know how to be pre­pared for both food and non-food aller­gies, iden­ti­fy the symp­toms of both mild and severe aller­gic reac­tions in a child, avoid and min­i­mize expo­sure, and respond appro­pri­ate­ly to a child’s severe aller­gic reaction. 

Want to learn more about out­door safe­ty? Read our blog on the top five mis­con­cep­tions about sun safe­ty!

Care Courses Support

Please let us know how we can be of addi­tion­al assis­tance! Call us: 1–800-685‑7610, Mon­day through Fri­day, 9–5 ET, or email us days, evenings and week­ends: We’re here to help!

How to Store and Handle Breast Milk at an Early Childhood Program

When fam­i­lies have a baby, they must make the impor­tant deci­sion of whether to feed their child with for­mu­la or by breast­feed­ing. Design­ing your child care pro­gram to accom­mo­date the feed­ing prac­tices of each fam­i­ly cul­ti­vates a sup­port­ive, car­ing envi­ron­ment. Read this week’s blog to learn how to store and han­dle breast milk at an ear­ly child­hood program! 

Supporting families

You can sup­port moth­ers who are breast­feed­ing by know­ing how to safe­ly store and han­dle breast milk. Breast milk is clas­si­fied as a food, so you can store it with oth­er foods in the same refrig­er­a­tor or freez­er. The same rules for food han­dling apply. Always be sure to wash your hands before han­dling expressed milk.

It is safe to store breast milk …

  • at room tem­per­a­ture (no more than 77° F) for up to 4 hours,
  • in the fridge (at 40° F) for up to 4 days,
  • in the freez­er for 6 months (although it is typ­i­cal­ly still good for up to one year).

After you thaw frozen milk, you can keep it at room tem­per­a­ture for 1–2 hours or in the fridge for up to a day. Do not refreeze breast milk after thaw­ing it.

Store expressed breast milk at the back of the freez­er or fridge where the tem­per­a­ture is more con­sis­tent. Do not store breast milk in the freezer/fridge door. Stor­ing breast milk in the door makes it more vul­ner­a­ble to tem­per­a­ture changes.

Breast Milk Prep Instructions for Families

A breast­feed­ing-friend­ly pro­gram has infor­ma­tion on breast­feed­ing read­i­ly avail­able. Have posters, pam­phlets, hand­outs, and infor­ma­tion pack­ets on breast­feed­ing. Most impor­tant­ly com­mu­ni­cate with fam­i­lies how they should pre­pare breast milk so that your pro­gram will have a good sup­ply of breast milk ready at your facility.

For frozen milk, use spe­cial breast milk stor­age bags, clean glass, or plas­tic con­tain­ers. Make sure not to use plas­tic bags that aren’t specif­i­cal­ly intend­ed for breast milk. Any con­tain­er with the recy­cle sym­bol num­ber 7 risks con­t­a­m­i­nat­ing the breast milk with bisphe­nol A (BPA), an indus­tri­al chem­i­cal. Using a clean glass con­tain­er ensures that no plas­tic chem­i­cals con­t­a­m­i­nate the breast milk. 

It’s best for fam­i­lies to freeze milk in 1–4 ounce quan­ti­ties so that care­givers can meet children’s needs while min­i­miz­ing waste. Ask fam­i­lies to label their milk with their baby’s full name and the date and time col­lect­ed. You’ll want to use the old­est milk first pro­vid­ed that it hasn’t expired yet.

Some pro­grams orga­nize their breast milk with col­ored tape. Each baby is assigned a col­or so that each baby gets the right milk. 

Thawing and Heating Breast Milk

Breast milk can be served cold, at room tem­per­a­ture, or warmed. Ask fam­i­lies what tem­per­a­ture they’d pre­fer for their child.

There are dif­fer­ent ways to thaw frozen milk:

  • Let it thaw in the fridge overnight.
  • Put a sealed con­tain­er of frozen milk in a con­tain­er of warm or luke­warm (nev­er hot) water for a cou­ple of min­utes. If you don’t have a bot­tle warmer, this is a great method to warm up milk.
  • Hold a sealed con­tain­er of frozen milk under luke­warm (nev­er hot) run­ning tap water for a few min­utes. This method also warms the milk.

You don’t want to expose the milk to too much heat as this can destroy impor­tant nutri­ents in the milk. For this rea­son, do not microwave breast milk or warm it direct­ly on the stove or in a crock­pot of water. Microwav­ing can also cre­ate hot spots in the milk that burn the baby’s mouth.

The tem­per­a­ture should not exceed 98.6° F. Test the tem­per­a­ture by drip­ping a small amount on the inside of your wrist to see if it’s warm enough but not too hot. Once breast milk has been warmed, serve it with­in 1–2 hours.

Breast milk is not homog­e­nized, so do not wor­ry if it sep­a­rates into lay­ers with the fat ris­ing to the top or sports a bluish col­or. Frozen milk also often has dif­fer­ent col­or or den­si­ty vari­a­tions because of this sep­a­ra­tion. Gen­tly shake the milk to mix these com­po­nents. If shak­ing pro­duces air bub­bles, give the milk a few min­utes to sit before serv­ing. Air bub­bles can cause babies to have gas.

Dis­card any uncon­sumed milk after feed­ing and nev­er mix the left­overs with fresh breast milk.

Would you like more help­ful infor­ma­tion on mak­ing your pro­gram breast­feed­ing-friend­ly? Take our Sup­port­ing Breast­feed­ing in Child Care course to become an expert. Have any ques­tions about how to store and han­dle breast milk at an ear­ly child­hood pro­gram? Let us know in the comments!

Look­ing for more inter­est­ing blogs on child care top­ics? Read our blog on the top five mis­con­cep­tions about sun safe place in child care!

Care Courses Support

Please let us know how we can be of any addi­tion­al assis­tance! Call us: 1–800-685‑7610, Mon­day through Fri­day, 9–5 ET, or email us days, evenings, and week­ends: We’re here to help!

Can I Use Care Courses To Get My Florida Staff Credential?

Inter­est­ed in obtain­ing your Flori­da Staff Cre­den­tial? You can use Care Cours­es toward the 120 clock hours of train­ing you need to get your CDA cre­den­tial, issued by the Coun­cil for Pro­fes­sion­al Recog­ni­tion. Once you obtain your CDA from the CDA coun­cil, you will meet the require­ments need­ed to obtain your Flori­da Staff Credential.

How to Earn a Florida Staff Credential

There are sev­er­al ways to earn a Flori­da Staff Cre­den­tial. One is to have a “Nation­al Ear­ly Child­hood Cre­den­tial.” The Flori­da Depart­ment of Chil­dren and Fam­i­lies defines a Nation­al Ear­ly Child­hood Cre­den­tial as: “Nation­al Child Devel­op­ment Asso­ciate (CDA) or oth­er ear­ly child­hood cre­den­tial that meets or exceeds the require­ments of the Nation­al CDA and is rec­og­nized by reg­u­la­to­ry agen­cies in at least five states.” 

Fur­ther­more, the Nation­al CDA Cre­den­tial is one of the most wide­ly rec­og­nized ear­ly child­hood cre­den­tials in the coun­try. You must be renew your CDA every three years. (You can also use Care Cours­es to con­ve­nient­ly renew your CDA Cre­den­tial and Flori­da Staff Credential.) 

If you already have a col­lege degree in ear­ly child­hood or a relat­ed field or have the FCCPC or oth­er ear­ly child­hood cre­den­tial, we rec­om­mend review­ing the Flori­da Staff Cre­den­tial Resource Page to learn how your edu­ca­tion can be used to get your Flori­da Staff Cre­den­tial. Once you have met the edu­ca­tion require­ments of the Flori­da Staff Cre­den­tial, it is time to sub­mit your appli­ca­tion. You can down­load the appli­ca­tion from the same website.

How do I renew my Florida Staff Credential? 

Care Cours­es are accept­ed for the 4.5 CEUs (45 clock hours) need­ed for renew­al of Flori­da Staff Cre­den­tials. This includes the renew­al of the Child Devel­op­ment Asso­ciate Cre­den­tial (CDA), the Flori­da Birth through Five Child Care Cre­den­tial, the Flori­da School Age Child Care Cre­den­tial, and the Flori­da Director’s Cre­den­tial. Care Cours­es is an IACET accred­it­ed CEU Provider and all of our cours­es offer IACET CEUs. Learn more about how you can use Care Cours­es’ IACET accred­it­ed cours­es for DCF training. 

If you obtained your Flori­da Staff Cre­den­tial by get­ting your Nation­al CDA, you may use our train­ing to renew your CDA and Staff Cre­den­tial! Use Care Cours­es’ dis­count­ed CDA renew­al sets to renew. You must renew your Nation­al CDA every three years to renew your staff credential. 

What about the FCCPC?

You can use a Flori­da Child Care Pro­fes­sion­al Cre­den­tial (FCCPC), like the Nation­al CDA, to obtain your Flori­da Staff Cre­den­tial. The Nation­al CDA and FCCPC have very sim­i­lar require­ments as well. For both the Nation­al CDA and FCCPC, you must obtain 120 hours of train­ing and 480 hours of work expe­ri­ence. You must also com­plete a pro­fes­sion­al port­fo­lio, and an obser­va­tion vis­it (among oth­er require­ments). Both require 45 clock hours of train­ing to renew. You must renew the Nation­al CDA every 3 years and an FCCPC every 5 years. Please note that Care Cours­es are not accept­ed towards obtain­ing the FCCPC; how­ev­er, you can use Care Cours­es to renew a Flori­da Staff Cre­den­tial obtained using an FCCPC. 

Benefits of a National CDA

One ben­e­fit of the Nation­al CDA is that it is already accept­ed toward child care require­ments around the coun­try. There­fore, you can apply it toward oth­er state require­ments in the event that you move and want to work in child care in anoth­er state. Read our blog about what the Nation­al CDA can do for you in oth­er states!

Do you have more ques­tions? Check out our Flori­da child care train­ing page to learn how our cours­es can be used in Flori­da. Give us a call and our CDA experts will be hap­py to dis­cuss how you can obtain your CDA.

Care Courses Support

Please let us know how we can be of addi­tion­al assis­tance! Call us: 1–800-685‑7610, Mon­day through Fri­day, 9–5 ET, or email us days, evenings and week­ends: We’re here to help!

%d bloggers like this: