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Strive to Thrive: How to Train Your Toddler’s Brain, Part 2

Strive to Thrive: Self Regulation-Part Two

In my last post, I talked about how you can help your baby be more confident in the world by developing self-regulation.  Self-regulation, or the ability to choose behaviors that are right for the context a child is in, is very important and we can all help our kids get better and better at it as they grow up.

Lots of different skills and abilities can contribute to good self-regulation, and they all start with the brain. So parents can “train the brain” of their toddlers every day to help these 1 and 2 year olds become better and better at checking out the situation, staying calm or getting focused, and communicating or acting in a way that works.  Let me give you an example:

If your 2-year-old is playing in the living room and you say, “time for dinner,” there are many steps that have to happen in her brain.

She has to stop playing and thinking about her play, turn her focus to you, hear what you are saying, and change her interest in her play to an interest in moving to the table.  Then she has to get to the table, know where to sit, sit down, and help her body calm down so she can sit and eat.  She also may have to sit and wait while you get the rest of the food ready.

Her brain has to do a lot of work! These are self-regulation, and they all start with the brain.  So parents can “train the brain” of their toddlers every day to help these 1 and 2 year olds become better and better at checking out the situation, staying calm or getting focused, and communicating or acting in a way that works.

Let me give you an example:

It may seem simple (and it may be frustrating when your toddler doesn’t listen to you right away), but, actually, your daughter does not know all the skills needed and you have to help teach her.  There are many opportunities in family life to help toddlers
learn all these skills.  Here are some of the ways you can do that:

Self regulation is even more important – and even harder to teach – for preschoolers.  In my next post, I will talk about how you can ‘train the brain’ of your 3 and 4 year old child.