Self-control means being able to express and cope with strong emotions in appropriate ways—for a toddler, this may mean saying “I’m mad at you” instead of biting. Self-control also involves thinking skills, as we decide which of our impulses to act on. Developing self-control begins at birth and continues across our lives. It is a skill that is critical to children’s school success and overall healthy development. It enables children to cooperate with others, to cope with frustration, and to resolve conflicts. Young children learn these skills through interactions with others and guidance from parents and other caregivers.
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