component of planning infant-toddler social-studies interactions, activities, and
learning experiences.

Individual temperament, differences in behavioral styles, emotional ex-
pression, and ways of responding to the environment affect how adults care for
infants and toddlers. These responses affect the formation of caregiver-child re-
lationships and influence children’s development over time. Relationships be-
tween young children and adults are built through consistent, warm, responsive,
and nurturing care. The types of relationships that infants and toddlers form with
caregivers depends on how well the adults who care for them understand them
and how those adults respond to and act toward them. The development of rela-
tionships is the foundation of social-studies learning for infants and toddlers and
is vital to their well-being. These first relationships affect infants’ and toddlers’
ongoing development and their future capability to form healthy relationships.

Temperament Teaching social studies to infants and toddlers focuses on the development of
a positive sense of self, self-regulation skills, individual awareness, and effective
self-coping strategies. Understanding that each child is an individual is an im-
portant component to helping children develop a positive sense of self. Babies
are born with inherited temperament characteristics that influence how physi-
cally active they are, how they react to the environment and new experiences, and
how strongly they express their emotions.

Temperament characteristics are also influenced by the child’s culture and
his family’s expectations. As a caregiver, you should talk with families and ob-
serve each child to learn about his individual temperament characteristics. This
can guide you in the planning and modifications that need to be made to best
support their development and learning. You can be intentional in actively mod-
ifying your responses and interactions and the environment, and you can help
infants and toddlers learn about themselves and provide experiences that help
them develop self-regulation and self-awareness. For example, some children like
to watch and are more cautious about new people and new things. They may not
be as physically active as some other children and may become easily upset or
frightened when something unexpected happens. They may cry more loudly and
take longer to soothe themselves. A child with these temperament traits benefits
when she has new experiences and people introduced to her slowly so she can get
used to them. These children may need you to hold them more often, to reassure
them, and to help them learn how to soothe themselves by giving them a com-
fort object such as a soft toy. These types of thoughtful and respectful teaching
4 Chapter 1