Early Language Skills Reduce Preschool Tantrums, Study Finds12/20/12
THURSDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Toddlers who have more
developed language skills are less likely to throw temper tantrums
by the time they begin preschool, according to a new study.
This is likely because they are better able to talk about their
frustrations, according to researchers, from Pennsylvania State
They followed 120 predominately white children from the ages of
18 months to 4 years and measured their language skills and their
ability to cope with frustration.
In one test, for example, the children's ability to control
their anger was observed as they had to wait eight minutes before
opening a gift while their mothers completed a questionnaire.
Strategies used by the children in this situation included
seeking support ("Mom, are you done yet?" or "I wonder what it is")
and distracting themselves from the gift by doing things such as
counting out loud or making up a story.
The researchers found that children who had better language
skills as toddlers and whose language developed more quickly
expressed less anger at age 4 than those whose language skills
weren't as good when they were toddlers.
Children whose language developed more quickly were more likely
to calmly seek their mother's support while waiting at age 3. This,
in turn, predicted less anger at age 4, according to the study,
which was published Dec. 20 in the journal
"Better language skills may help children verbalize rather than use emotions to convey needs and use their imaginations to occupy themselves while enduring a frustrating wait," study author Pamela Cole, a professor of psychology and human development and family studies, said in a journal news release.
The Nemours Foundation explains how to
tame kids' tempers.
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