Self-Regulation Snap Shot #1: A Focus on Infants and Toddlers

April 2, 2018
Topics:
Child Care, Early Head Start, Youth Services, Head Start, Home Visiting
Projects:
Toxic Stress and Self-Regulation Reports | Learn more about this project
Types:
Reports
Self-Regulation Snap Shot #1: A Focus on Infants and Toddlers Cover
Download report (pdf)
  • File Size 3mb
  • Pages 2
  • Published 2018

Introduction

Adult 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.”

Purpose

This 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.

Highlights

Self-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

Citation

Rosanbalm, K.D., & Murray, D.W. (2017). Self-Regulation Snapshot #1: A Focus on Infants and Toddlers. OPRE Report #2018-10, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, US. Department of Health and Human Services.

Glossary

Self-Regulation
The act of managing thoughts and feelings to enable goal-directed actions.
Co-Regulation
The supportive process between caring adults and children, youth, or young adults that fosters self-regulation development.
Last Reviewed: March 29, 2018