Helping your toddler understand and express emotions may reduce behavioural problems later on, says a new study.
“Our findings offer promise for a practical, cost-effective parenting strategy to support at-risk toddlers’ social and emotional development and reduce behavioural problems,” said lead investigator of the study Holly Brophy-Herb, professor at Michigan State University in the US.
The research involved 89 toddlers (ages 18 months to about two years). Mothers were asked to look at a wordless picture book with their toddlers. The book included many emotional undertones as illustrations depicted a girl who lost and found a pet. During a follow-up visit with the families, about seven months later, the researchers found fewer behavioural problems in the higher-risk children.
This might be because emotion bridging acts as a tool through which toddlers can begin to learn about their emotions and gradually learn simple words to express emotions, needs and wishes, instead of acting out physically, Brophy-Herb