Parenting Resource

Haley, Age 30 Months, Learning Self-Control

May 19, 2010

Watch to see how Haley copes with leaving her family child care setting. How does her mother, Lynette, help Haley manager her strong emotions and finally say good-bye for the day?

To Think About:

What do you think Haley is thinking and feeling?

What does Lynette do to help Haley cope?

What might Haley be learning about self-control from this interaction with her mom?

What the Experts Say About This Interaction

What Haley does:

  • Communicates through body movements, words and gestures, that she is having a hard time saying good-bye to her doll and making the transition to going home.

  • Accepts comfort from mom (momentarily) when her mom playfully scoops her up.

  • Eventually accepts soothing from her mother and is able to regain control of her emotions, kissing the baby doll good-bye and transitioning home successfully.

What Lynette does:

  • Tries to help Haley make the transition by using imaginative play to help her cope—suggesting she say good-bye to the doll and cell phone.

  • Labels Haley’s emotions, asking, Are you sad?

  • Stays very calm while Haley is breaking down—just holds her and talks soothingly to her. This helps Haley to eventually calm down.

  • Again tries to help Haley move on by asking if she wants to say goodbye to the baby. This time it works. This experience helps Haley learn how to manage her strong feelings and cope with life’s realities.

Think About How Your Child Is Learning These Skills

  • How does your child let you know she’s lost control?

  • How do you help her manage her strong feelings?

  • How do you manage your own feelings when you are angry, frustrated, etc? Are you able to remain calm or do you respond with intensity, too? What can you do help yourself remain calm when your child is “losing it”?

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