Explain the role of the Early Years practitioner during: nappy changing, toilet training, washing and bath time, skin, teeth and hair, meal times

Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 1.3: Support physical care routines for children
Learning outcome: Understand the physical care needs of children
Assessment criteria: Explain the role of the Early Years practitioner during: nappy changing, toilet training, washing and bath time, skin, teeth and hair, meal times

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In the previous section, we looked at some of the main physical routines for children and babies.

In this section, we will be exploring the role of the Early Years practitioner in relation to these activities.

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During nappy changing, the practitioner should communicate with the baby or child in a positive way, which can include talking, singing and smiling. Similarly, the practitioner should not show signs of disgust at the sight of faeces because this can communicate that toileting is unpleasant and may lead to anxiety when the child is toilet training.

Safety and hygiene should be of the utmost importance, and practitioners should ensure that they follow all policies, procedures, best practices and risk assessments. This includes using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as gloves and aprons, using correct handwashing techniques before and after the task, and disposing of soiled nappies appropriately – settings should have a designated bin for this.

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Toilet training and other tasks should be carried out in partnership with the child’s parents/carers to ensure consistency between the home and childcare settings. Again, adherence to the setting’s agreed ways of working is essential for the health and safety of the child.

Practitioners should encourage independence and teach children the skills they need to carry out tasks with little or no support. In addition, the reasons for these activities should be explained to the child – for example, hand-washing is important because it prevents germs from spreading or eating less sugar is important to prevent tooth decay. Of course, how this is communicated will depend on the child’s age and stage of development.

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Food should be prepared hygienically and should be healthy and nutritious. Children should also have variety and opportunities to experience new tastes and textures. Food should meet each child’s dietary requirements due to medical conditions, religious/cultural requirements and their own individual preferences.

Early Year practitioners are also responsible for maintaining accurate records of the work that they have done. This will vary between settings and between individual children but some general examples of record-keeping include:

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  • The number of nappy changes a child has had throughout the day
  • The food that a child has consumed
  • The frequency and length of a child’s naps

These records can be used to share information with parents/carers and others and help identify any patterns in a child’s behaviour.

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