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Vallotton, C. et al. (2011) Use your words: The role of language in the development of toddlers’ self-regulation (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Self-regulation emerges throughout early childhood, and predicts later success in socially and cognitively challenging situations. Vygotsky proposed that symbols, particularly words, serve as mental tools to be used in service of self-regulation. Cross-sectional research indicates a positive but inconsistent association between language and self-regulation skills throughout toddlerhood, but research has not accounted for general cognitive development, nor gender differences in these domains. We used growth modeling of longitudinal data for 120 toddlers collected when children were 14, 24, and 36 months to test the impact of two expressive language skills – spoken vocabulary and talkativeness – on the growth of toddlers’ self-regulation, and to determine whether associations between these domains exist when controlling for cognitive development. Results reveal gender differences in self-regulation trajectories, and in the impact of language on self-regulation. Vocabulary is a better predictor of self-regulation than talkativeness, and both concurrent and prior vocabulary positively predicted children's levels of self-regulation. When cognitive development was controlled, 24-month vocabulary still predicted the trajectory of self-regulation. Results reveal that, even in early development, words are tools that can be applied to the task of self-regulation, and may be a more necessary tool for boys than for girls at this age.

Date:
January 2011
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
26
Page/s:
169-181
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Language
  • Longitudinal
  • Self-regulation
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Vallotton, C. et al. (2016) Parenting Supports for Early Vocabulary Development: Specific Effects of Sensitivity and Stimulation through Infancy (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Growing recognition of disparities in early childhood language environments prompts examination of parent-child interactions, which support vocabulary. Research links parental sensitivity and cognitive stimulation to child language, but has not explicitly contrasted their effects, nor examined how effects may change over time. We examined maternal sensitivity and stimulation throughout infancy using two observational methods?ratings of parents? interaction qualities and coding of discrete parenting behaviors?to assess the relative importance of these qualities to child vocabulary over time and determine whether mothers make related changes in response to children's development. Participants were 146 infants and mothers, assessed when infants were 14, 24, and 36 months. At 14 months, sensitivity had a stronger effect on vocabulary than did stimulation, but the effect of stimulation grew throughout toddlerhood. Mothers? cognitive stimulation grew over time, whereas sensitivity remained stable. While discrete parenting behaviors changed with child age, there was no evidence of trade?offs between sensitive and stimulating behaviors, and no evidence that sensitivity moderated the effect of stimulation on child vocabulary. Findings demonstrate specificity of timing in the link between parenting qualities and child vocabulary, which could inform early parent interventions, and support a reconceptualization of the nature and measurement of parental sensitivity.

Date:
January 2016
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
22
Page/s:
78-107
Keyword/s:
Synonyms:
  • Language
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline: