Infant–parent relationships encompass the connections between the youngest of children and their primary caregivers, including biological mothers and fathers, foster and adoptive parents, and others assuming the “parental” role. Infant–parent relationships are recognized as being of utmost significance because they serve as the immediate context for early development. This entry provides an overview of infant–parent relationships and discusses relevant theoretical perspectives, research, and intervention, with special attention to how the construct pertains to early childhood education.


Researchers, practitioners, and policy makers increasingly emphasize the early years as foundational for later development. Infancy is characterized by a high level of brain plasticity and rapid brain development that has lasting implications for brain structure organization. Consequently, infants are especially sensitive to environmental influences. Whereas appropriate stimulation during ...

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