Child care teachers' response to children's emotional expression

Hey Jun Ahn, Cynthia Stifter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


This observational study examined practices through which child care teachers socialize children's emotion. A specific aim was to describe strategies of teacher intervention in response to emotion displayed by children in child care centers, and to answer the question of differential interactions based on children's age and gender. The results of this study were as follows: (a) toddler teachers matched and encouraged children's positive emotion expression more often than did preschool teachers; (b) in response to children's negative emotion, toddler teachers used physical comfort and distraction more often than did preschool teachers who relied more on verbal mediation; (c) in response to girls' negative emotional expressions, teachers provided more physical comfort and distraction whereas they were more likely to provide boys with constructive ways to express negative emotion. The results of this study also revealed relatively infrequent teaching about constructive ways of expressing negative emotion and very few occurrences of teacher's empathy, two developmentally appropriate methods for socializing emotion. Teachers may benefit from a training program focusing on facilitating emotional competence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-270
Number of pages18
JournalEarly Education and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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