Non parental caregivers can serve as powerful role models for children as they develop. Competent caregivers provide not only for the child's physical needs, but also for his or her emotional needs. A caregiver that offers affection, support, and positive communication supports the child's psychological development. A caregiver who neglects these aspects of care may damage the child's psychological well being.
Socially and cognitively, children learn about what is acceptable behavior through observing the adults around them. Thus, non-parental caregivers also contribute to the social understandings of the children under their care.
In addition, caregivers can support the childrens' cognitive development through games, conversation and other developmentally sound interactions.