|Our interactions with children and our reactions to their behaviors have a profound impact on how children learn to control their emotions and behaviors.
Birth ~ 12 Months ~ Routines are important with our babies. They count on us to react to them as we consistently meet their needs. They react to us when they reach out, smile, and make sweat sounds. Our positive and negative responses help them to meet expectations and learn routines. If they are not responded to or they do not get the attention they need, they will soothe themselves or find a way to cope. Thumb-sucking is one way for babies to find comfort while they wait for their needs to be met.
|1 ~ 2 Years ~ Following simple routines is one way a toddler lets us know they are able to control their behavior. When routines and schedules change, toddlers may need to be reassured and comforted to help them to adjust with flexibility. It is important that we communicate our expectations in simple, short phrases and reinforce with joy what we would like to see again.
2 ~ 3 Years ~ Two-year-olds really do understand a great deal more then we think they do. They remember and follow routines and rules; eagerly looking for us to react. They will make a special effort to control their behaviors when it involves a reward such as a sticker or small token. Be careful not to make routine behaviors dependent on a reward.
3 ~ 4 Years ~ Three-year-olds are eagerly trying out new social skills and behaviors. They follow routines almost automatically and are learning that some behaviors are acceptable, while others they are learning to control. Adult guidance and positive reinforcement will help them to notice and understand the difference between good behavior choices and those that may not be acceptable.
4 ~ 5 Years ~ Four-year-olds are proud to follow routines and rules independently with few directions. They also are happy to remind others of rules and social skills that need to be followed. They have learned to control their impulses by thinking first, then reacting. They enjoy the steps they have learned to put in place during transitions. They may even be ready to help in planning new routines.