Posted by Linda McNelly, Licensed Early Childhood Parent Educator on 3/22/2016 4:45:00 PM
This week, our early childhood family education groups have been looking at the development of self-regulation in toddlers. The following are key points made by Tovah Klein in her 2014 book, “How Toddlers Thrive: What Parents Can Do Today for Children Ages 2-5 to Plant the Seeds of Lifelong Success”.
Young children are experiencing complex emotions: fear, anger, worry, sadness, elation, pride, shame and making new neural connections everyday (through their senses, language and through play). They often don’t quite know how to handle all this new information and stimulation.
Self-regulation is what enables a child to handle intense thoughts and emotions, keep on task, bounce back from disappointment, solve problems, listen, make friends, manage everyday stress and develop coping mechanisms. Self-regulation is also a set of life skills that enable a child to calm down, communicate needs and stay relatively secure, even through change and transition. These skills are hard-wired in the brain, if conditions are good -and when parents help them develop through modeling, guiding, providing comfort and scaffolding. Developing self-regulation skills takes repeated practice over time.