Caring for a baby who cries constantly can be exhausting and overwhelming for child care providers. It's easy to get frustrated and angry when nothing you do seems to calm the baby down. Here are some ways to calm a crying baby (or several babies) in a group setting. But never shake a baby! If you shake a baby you can cause permanent damage or death. Babies have large heavy heads and weak neck muscles. When a baby is shaken, the movement bounces the brain back and forth within the skull, rupturing and tearing blood vessels, nerves and brain tissue. Many babies who are shaken die. Children who survive often have permanent damage including blindness, hearing loss, seizures, developmental delays, speech and learning difficulties, and paralysis.
To calm a crying baby, child care providers might try the following.
If nothing works, take a break. If you find your frustration level climbing, ask for help. See if another child care provider can take over for a few minutes. If you are in a center, ask a director for help. If you are a family child care provider, see if a neighbor or friend can come over and help out for a few minutes. If all else fails, put the baby down in a crib and let him or her cry for short periods (10 – 15 minutes).
Call the parents. If the crying continues and nothing you do soothes the baby, or he seems sick or feverish, you may need to call the parents. Explain the problem, and suggest that parents take the child to a doctor just to make sure there are no serious problems.
To learn more about how child care providers can provide infants' needs, take a look at the following eXtension Alliance for Better Child Care articles: