Parenting and Kids Blog

News, events and resources.

Parenting Infants and Toddlers

Have you seen the trees decorated with 5,281 ribbons on the Kalamazoo Mall north of Michigan Avenue? Each ribbon represents a reported case of child abuse or neglect in Kalamazoo County. While there’s never any excuse for child abuse or neglect, there’s no doubt that the experience of parenting is often very frustrating in the moment. 

Unrealistic expectations of children’s abilities can lead to frustration for parents. Parenting Infants and Toddlers Today is a recent study for Zero to Three conducted by Hart Research Associates and funded by the MetLife Foundation. Researchers interviewed 1,615 parents of infants and toddlers to explore the experience of parents, to identify what information and support services parents of young children turn to, and to better understand how parents interpret and respond to their children’s behavior.  

According to the study “many parents lack a clear understanding of when young children are capable of reaching certain developmental milestones”. Parents of infants and toddlers most commonly mentioned tantrums, crying, and their children’s inability to control emotions as challenges. Children only begin to be capable of such emotional regulation from 3 to 5 years of age.  

Also fascinating is that “a significant majority of parents do not realize that by six months most babies can experience feelings such as sadness and fear and can be affected by their parents’ moods” or that “many parents are also not aware that most children are capable of feeling good about themselves between ages one to two.” The majority of parents believe this happens later in a child’s development. 

The good news is that “virtually all parents (93%) understand the value of reading to young children” though a smaller majority say they recognize the importance of talking (75%) and singing (70%) to very young babies and newborns to facilitate cognitive development. Kalamazoo Public Library has great materials for reading aloud to your little one. Come to Baby Storytime on Tuesday evenings in April to share some songs and rhymes for babies and young children.  


Parenting Infants and Toddlers