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Little Kids, Big Questions
is a series of 12 podcasts that translates the research of early childhood development into parenting practices that mothers, fathers and other caregivers can tailor to the needs of their own child and family. Click here to listen to or download the podcasts. This podcast series is generously funded by MetLife Foundation.

Tips and Tools on Promoting Social Emotional Development

PodcastsBeyond “Use Your Words!”: How Babies Begin to Develop Self-Control in the First Three Years - In this podcast, Dr. Brenda Jones Harden describes how young children develop self control starting even in the first year of life. Learn More

PodcastsShh, Shh, It’s Okay: Coping With Crying in Babies and Toddlers -  In this podcast, Dr. Pam High offers insight into one of the most distressing issues for so many new parents—how to cope with fussiness and crying. Learn More

PodcastSharing the Care: How Partnering with Your Child’s Caregiver Supports Healthy Development -In this podcast, Dr. Jerlean Daniel describes what quality child care looks like and how parents and child care providers can work together to share the care of young children. Learn More

PodcastsEarly Experiences Count: How Emotional Development Unfolds Starting at Birth - In this podcast, Dr. Ross Thompson describes how early emotional development unfolds and what parents can do to nurture strong, positive social and emotional skills starting at birth. Learn More

PodcastAcross the Generations:  The Role of Grandparents in Young Children’s Lives - In this podcast, Dr. Barbara Bowman talks about the important role of grandparents in the lives of young children. Learn More

PodcastOur Families, Ourselves:  How Our History Influences How We Raise Our Children - In this podcast, Dr. Dan Siegel talks about how the way we are brought up influences the way we bring up our kids—the power of the past on our parenting. Learn More

Podcast“I Like Me!”: Developing Self-Esteem in the Early Years -In this podcast, Dr. Jeree Pawl describes how young children develop self-esteem. Learn More

PodcastDaddy, Papi, Papa or Baba: The Influence of Father’s on Young Children’s Development -In this podcast, Dr. Kyle Pruett talks about the important and unique role of fathers in the lives of young children. Learn More

My sister's son is the same age as mine, 16 months, and I want them to be good friends. The only problem is my nephew is a more aggressive than my son. - Ah, the politics of family relationships; so challenging, even when it comes to the smallest members! These situations are best handled by open, respectful communication and collaboration between the adults—in this case, you and your sister. It's usually a disaster if one parent starts disciplining the other's child, unless there is a clear agreement that this is okay. Read More

My father died recently and I've been dealing with it okay, but I'm not sure what to do about my 21-month-old daughter who keeps asking for him. - I am very sorry for your loss. This must be a very difficult time as you need to take care of yourself and cope with your own feelings, and at the same time try and make sense of all this for your young child. Read More

My daughter (22 months) and I go to a playgroup once a week. Things were fine when the babies were little, but now they are walking around, exploring...and grabbing and pushing and hitting! - The incident you described is very typical. In fact, it’s what we expect at this age. Learning to share is a process—one that can start now, but that takes a long time to master. Read More

My baby is 9-months-old and I just found out that I have to go on a 2-week business trip. Will this separation impact our relationship? - Your worry is understandable. It is very hard to leave a baby at such a young age, but it is something so many working parents are faced with these days. It’s hard to predict exactly how your baby will react because every baby is different. Some babies are more flexible and make changes easily. Other babies have a hard time with change and may have a bigger reaction. Either way, if your baby has developed strong, stable relationships with her Dad and her Nanny, the separation will likely be easier. Read More

My 9-month-old and I are in a Mommy and Me Music Class, but he’s scared to participate. - Stick with it. You’re making important progress. While some children naturally go-with-the-flow and jump right into new situations, others are slower to warm up. They tend to be more comfortable in one-on-one experiences and can feel easily overwhelmed in a group. Another factor may be your son’s sensitivity to sounds. He may love hearing music at home, but in a class, the noise and movement of the other children may at first be too much for him. Read More

My 3-year-old son spends half his time with me and my wife, and the other half with his mother. When he is with my ex-wife, my son gets away with more than when he’s with me. I’m not sure how to handle that. - Encourage him to bring a special stuffed animal (a “lovey”) from one home to the other. Having this source of comfort will help him feel safe and secure and provide a sense of consistency across his two homes. Read More

My 26-month-old is terrified of the doctor. - This is quite common as two important developments are taking place at this age. First, your daughter’s thinking skills are allowing her to not only remember the doctor’s office but also to anticipate what might happen there—like getting a shot or finger prick. She is also becoming more aware of her own body and focused on the fact that her body belongs to her. Naturally, she wants to be the boss of her body. Read More

My 23-month-old used to be a great sleeper. But since we had a new baby, she has been getting up multiple times a night. - While a sibling is a gift to your older child, she likely doesn’t appreciate this quite yet. Sharing your attention, your lap, and your love doesn’t seem like much of a gift. Since children this age don’t have the ability yet to reflect on and talk about their feelings, they “act out,” expressing their feelings through their behavior. Read More

My 22-month-old son is scared to death of people wearing masks or costumes that cover their faces. - For toddlers, masks and costumes challenge their understanding of appearance (what something looks like) and reality (what it is "really truly" underneath). Toddlers are not yet able to grasp that someone may look like a witch on the outside (the mask) but really be their Aunt Molly underneath. Read More

My 22-month-old always wants to be carried, but now she's getting too heavy to be constantly in my arms. - Ah… the “I want up” syndrome—demanding to be carried 24/7. This is not uncommon. The key is to figure out why she wants to be carried all the time, which requires some detective work. Read More

My 2-year-old son is suddenly afraid of the dark. - Fear of the dark is quite common, especially at this age. In order to understand why this is happening now and what you can do, consider where your child is developmentally. By 2 1/2, most children are very engaged in the world of pretend and imagination, and they don’t fully understand the difference between fantasy and reality. Read More

My 2 1/2-year-old is suddenly insisting that I feed him all his meals. - This kind of behavior is actually fairly common. While it may seem like a contradiction at this age when most children want to be independent and do everything “by myself,” the ability to do more on their own can sometimes lead to regression and a desire to be taken care of in “babylike” ways. Read More

My 19-month-old daughter and I go to a playgroup once a week. Last week my daughter grabbed a car out of her friend’s hands. How can you get little kids to share? - Just the other day I had a similar experience—not with toddlers, but with my own 12- and 10-year-olds! What this tells you is that learning to share is a process that can start now but that takes a long time to master. Read More

My 18-month-old has loved up her stuffed bunny so much that it’s literally falling apart—and it smells bad! I want to get rid of it, but I’m worried about how my baby will react. - One of the biggest challenges of parenting is separating ourselves from our children’s behavior. Unfortunately, when we have a strong emotional reaction to our child’s behavior, we tend to react in ways that make the behavior escalate. Read More

My 18-month-old has loved up her stuffed bunny so much that it’s literally falling apart—and it smells bad! I want to get rid of it, but I’m worried about how my baby will react. - Imagine how you would feel if someone said they were going to take away your beloved spouse/partner/best friend (falling apart and bad smelling or not!), and get you a new, improved version. Now you know how your child might feel if you replace her treasured bunny! Read More

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