Age Differences in Emotion Regulation in Toddler and Preschool Classrooms




Herndon, Kristina J.

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Emotion regulation is necessary for children to learn to negotiate the demands of the preschool environment, form working relationships with teachers, develop friendships, succeed in academic achievement, and adjust to school (Shields et al., 2001; Denham et al., 2003; Fabes et al., 1999; Herndon, Bailey, Shewark, Denham & Bassett, in press; Schelble, Franks, & Miller, 2010). The purpose of this study was to explore emotion regulation and dysregulation techniques displayed by children in toddler classrooms compared to children in classrooms for 3- and 4-year-olds. Data was collected from 149 2-, 3-, and 4-year-olds using the Positive Reactions to Emotionally Arousing Problem Situations and the Negative Reactions to Emotionally Arousing Problem Situations subscales on the Minnesota Preschool Affect Checklist-Revised/Shortened (MPAC-R/S). It was found that emotion regulation occurs in 2-year-old classrooms. Furthermore, it was found that 4-year-olds showed significantly more emotion regulation in their classrooms than 3-year-olds. Results have implications to further expand the social-emotional curriculum in preschools to include 2-year-olds to maximize their development of social-emotional competence.



Emotion regulation, Toddlers, Emotion dysregulation, Preschoolers