How do 2-year-olds develop emotional regulation?

How do 2-Year-Olds Develop Emotional Regulation?

As parents, we all know that the toddler years can be a challenging time. Our 2-year-olds are learning to express their emotions and regulate them in healthy ways. But how do they do it? In this article, we’ll explore the development of emotional regulation in 2-year-olds and what parents can do to help.

What is Emotional Regulation?

Emotional regulation is the ability to recognize and manage our emotions. It’s an important skill for adults, but even more so for toddlers who are just learning how to express themselves. When a child can regulate their emotions, they are better able to handle stress, interact with others, and make decisions.

Developmental Milestones

At two years old, children are beginning to understand their own emotions and those of others. They may be able to identify basic feelings such as happy, sad, angry, or scared. They may also be able to use words like no or stop when they don’t want something or need help regulating their emotions.

By three years old, children should be able to recognize more complex emotions such as jealousy or embarrassment. They should also be able to use language to express their feelings and ask for help when needed.

Strategies for Parents

There are several strategies that parents can use to help their 2-year-olds develop emotional regulation skills:

  • Model Appropriate Behaviour: Children learn by example so it’s important for parents to model appropriate behaviour when expressing emotions. This means using words instead of yelling or hitting when frustrated and showing empathy towards others when they’re upset.

  • Encourage Self-Expression: Help your child find healthy ways of expressing themselves such as talking about how they feel or drawing pictures about it. This will help them learn how to communicate their feelings in an appropriate way instead of acting out in frustration or anger.

  • Teach Problem Solving Skills: When your child is struggling with an emotion like anger or sadness, teach them problem solving skills such as counting down from 10 or taking deep breaths before responding. This will help them learn how to manage their emotions in a constructive way instead of lashing out at others or themselves.

  • Provide Comfort: Show your child that you understand how they feel by providing comfort and reassurance when needed. A hug or a kind word can go a long way in helping your child feel safe and secure during difficult times.

  • Encourage Positive Behaviour: Praise your child when they show positive behaviour such as using words instead of hitting when frustrated or helping someone else who is upset. This will reinforce positive behaviour and encourage them to continue using these strategies in the future.

  • Limit Screen Time: Too much screen time can lead to increased aggression and difficulty regulating emotions so it’s important for parents to limit screen time for young children (under 3). Instead focus on activities that encourage physical activity such as playing outside or doing arts & crafts together which will help them develop better emotional regulation skills over time.


    Developing emotional regulation skills is an important part of growing up but it doesn’t happen overnight! With patience and understanding from parents, children can learn how to recognize and manage their emotions in healthy ways which will benefit them throughout life!

You also could see another post where we talk about HOW DO 2-YEAR-OLDS DEVELOP THEIR SENSE OF MORALITY AND ETHICS? .

How do 2-year-olds develop emotional regulation?


  • • 2yearolds are beginning to understand and control their emotions.

  • • At this age, they can usually recognize and name basic emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger, and fear.

  • • They can also express their feelings through facial expressions, body language, and verbalizations.

  • • They are beginning to understand that different situations call for different emotional responses.

  • • They may be able to take turns in a game or wait for a turn without becoming overly frustrated.

  • • They may also be able to regulate their emotions when faced with disappointment or frustration.

  • • By the end of this age period, most 2yearolds will be able to recognize when they are feeling angry or upset and use strategies such as counting or taking deep breaths to calm down.

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