Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families Early Experiences Matter

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From Baby to Big Kid

An e-newsletter that showcases how children learn and grow each month from birth to 3 years. From Baby to Big Kid translates the science of early childhood and offers strategies parents can tailor to their unique family situation and to the needs of their child.
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School Readiness

O-12 Months##
##Self Control OnSelf Confidence Off


Parent-Child Activities That Promote Self-Control

  • Read books about feelings.  Look for stories that explore feelings in all of their complexity.  My Friend and I by Lisa Jahn-Clough, which depicts an argument and forgiveness between two toddlers, When Sophie Gets Angry by Molly Bang, about a toddler who has a tantrum, and How Are You Peeling by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers and My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss (general stories about emotions) are great choices for this age group.  As you read, talk about what you see in the pictures and how the different characters may be feeling. 
  • Play games that encourage your child to practice self-control.  Set up an obstacle course where your child has to climb over couch cushions, wiggle through a cardboard box tunnel, hop over a stuffed animal.  The catch:  He has to wait at the “starting line” while you say “one, two, three….go!”  Learning to wait helps your child develop self-control and learn to manage his impulses—in this case, to run onto the course.


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Share Your Activities With Us
The most important thing about the activities you do with your baby is that they’re fun for both of you.  But sometimes these activities can also help babies learn new things.  Are there any games or songs that your baby loves, and that also help him build on his growing sense of self-control?  Please share them with us!  We’d love to post a few of our visitors’ ideas on this site


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