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Infants Take Self-Regulation Into Their Own Hands

David Martin

Abstract:  Language serves as a mental tool set for self-regulation, allowing us to reflect on and modify our own behavior. Children as young as 3 years talk out loud to themselves to regulate their behavior, using self-regulatory self-talk. Can preverbal children use infant signs as self-talk for the purpose of self-regulation? The author shares observations from a child development center using the Baby Signs® Program.

Infants and toddlers use signs to request comfort in regulatory interactions with caregivers, and they use signs when alone to modify their own behavior in emotionally challenging situations. Infant signs provide infants with the cognitive tools to participate actively in their own regulation.
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