In this qualitative study, the relationship development process of three infant–caregiver dyads in a university-affiliated childcare setting was explored and some contributing factors to the development were identified. Data were collected through multiple methods (observations, video recordings, interviews, documents) for a semester. The findings of this study reveal both common and unique patterns of relationship development. In general, it took about 6 to 11 weeks to build firm relationships in the supportive context. Yet, the time and opportunity that they had together, what they brought with them (e.g. personalities, relationship histories), and their match brought about differences. In addition, the infant–caregiver relationship was two-way and reciprocal, and the context had a significant impact on the development. This study supports the significance of the infant–caregiver relationship in high-quality infant educare and caregiver education and sheds light on the necessity of a process-oriented and holistic perspective on infant–caregiver relationship development.
- caregiver education
- developmental process
- infant educare
- infant–caregiver relationships
- qualitative research