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Self-regulation snap shot #1: A focus on infants and toddlers

Date Added to Library: 
Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 11:03
Individual Author: 
Murray, D.W.
Rosanbalm, K.
Reference Type: 
Place Published: 
Washington, D.C.
Published Date: 
Published Date (Date): 
Monday, April 2, 2018
OPRE Report
Issue Number: 

IntroductionAdult caregivers such as parents, teachers, coaches, and other mentors play a critical role in shaping and supporting self-regulation development from birth through young adulthood through an interactive process called “co-regulation.” PurposeThis snapshot summarizes key concepts about self-regulation development and intervention for infants and toddlers for practitioners and educators interested in promoting self-regulation for this age group. It is based on a series of four reports on Self-Regulation and Toxic Stress prepared for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). Visit the Toxic Stress and Self-Regulation Reports page for more information. HighlightsSelf-regulation skills developing in infants:

  • Shifting attention or averting gaze when over overwhelmed
  • Self-soothing by sucking fingers or a pacifier

Developing in toddlers:

  • Focusing attention for short periods
  • Adjusting behavior to achieve goals
  • Briefly delaying gratification
  • Beginning to label feelings
  • Turning to adults for help with strong feelings

Key considerations for promoting self-regulation in infants and toddlers:

  • Train teachers and child care staff in co-regulation skills, particularly warm interaction, responsivity to child cues, and environmental structure
  • Identify ways to support school and child care staff’s own self-regulation capacity
  • Share self-regulation information, ideas, and classroom approaches with parents/caregivers to support their co-regulation and promote consistency across environments (Author introduction)
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