In young children, language development supports the strengthening of emotional regulation. The two are closely connected. This is because when infants and toddlers can express their wants and needs and be understood by trusted caregivers, they feel safe. When they feel safe, they are more likely to stay regulated. A brain that feels safe is a brain that can pay attention to the world! A brain that pays attention is a brain that learns everything–from language to concepts–more fully.
As children grow and understand their emotions–and how to name them with language–they become better able to make healthier choices about how to express them. They can use language rather than tantrums to get their wants and needs met.
- Consider whether our communication is clear and meaningful:
- Am I understanding what is happening around me?
- Can I fully access–with my ears or my eyes–the language you are using with me?
- Do I have a way of telling you my wants and needs?
- Can I trust that you understand me and will respond?
- Am I clear on what you expect of me?
- Do I know what is happening next?
- Supplement your signed and spoken language with objects, pictures, pointing, gestures, role play, and repetition of signs and words. Make the picture as clear as possible for me!