Caregiver’s Mind-Mindedness in Early Center-based Childcare
Recent studies suggest that mind-mindedness is an important element of caregiver–child interactions in family and childcare context. This study investigated caregivers’ mind-mindedness in a nationally representative Dutch sample and its relation with structural quality factors (i.e., group size, caregivers’ education and work experience, group type, and situation) and caregivers’ interactive skills. Participants were 99 caregivers recruited in 50 childcare centers. Mind-mindedness was assessed with observations during free-play and lunch situations in infant, preschool, and mixed-age groups (0–4-year-olds). Caregivers’ appropriate and nonattuned mindrelated comments were coded as individual (over/toward one child) or group related (over or toward more than one child). Caregivers’ interactive skills were assessed using the Caregiver Interaction Profile (CIP) scales. Research Findings: Caregivers generally refer to children’s desires, thoughts, and emotions in about 10% of their verbal interactions, with a low incidence rate of nonattuned comments (< 1%). Mind-mindedness was found to be significantly associated with structural quality characteristics and caregivers’ interactive skills. Caregivers with greater interactive skills produced fewer individual and more group appropriate mind-minded comments in mixed-age groups. Practice or Policy: We discuss the relevance of mind-minded comments at individual and group level for the future study of mental-state talk in early childhood education and care.