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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET HOW WHAT WE FEEL CREATES WHAT WE KNOW activities without taking over, while providing adequate coaching and encour- agement, can help foster positive social skills in their children (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine 2000). Conversely, some chil- dren have parents who take over a problem and provide a solution because it’s easier than waiting for their children to figure out a solution on their own. This tendency to take over can communicate to children that they are not capable of solving the problem, and can result in lower self-esteem and feel- ings of helplessness. Conversely, some children have caregivers who refuse to help them solve complex problems or provide any input or coaching at all. In those situations, children may not feel supported in their explorations, resulting in increased frustration or apathy. Instead, caregivers who are able to provide a balance of coaching and encouragement without taking over provide children with what scientists call scaffolding. Much like scaffolding’s purpose on a building is to provide support and structure, scaffolding in early life is the process by which caregivers provide necessary input to help children discover solutions on their own. It’s the process of working together with children that helps build their confidence, skills, learning, and later cooperation with others (National Research Coun- cil and Institute of Medicine 2000). For example, if Paul is playing a memory matching game and his father helps him by cuing him with phrases such as “Do you remember where the other elephant card was?” and “Maybe you should try this row of cards,” Paul receives not only useful information for solving the problem at hand, but also feels supported in that endeavor. Con- versely, if Paul’s father were to take over and do all the matching for him, Paul would likely lose interest in the game entirely and withdraw. If his father did not help him at all with the game, Paul might become frustrated and quit playing entirely. Parents are not the only people to provide these types of learning experi- ences. In fact, many of the games and activities recommended for early care environments naturally use this idea of scaffolding. Some activities may be challenging tasks for children, but with the assistance of a care provider, the tasks are manageable and children can master new skills. Encouraging chil- dren to remain engaged in challenging tasks can be difficult, especially if they are accustomed to adults taking over or not helping them at all. However, by offering gentle encouragement and providing a variety of opportunities COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 21