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Crying and Laughing
The Emotional Development of Infants and Toddlers

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Crying and Laughing
The Emotional Development of Infants and Toddlers



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Infants and toddlers need caring adults to help them learn emotional competence—how to understand, express, and manage emotions. By supporting their development in the early years, educators can create a strong foundation that will give young children important life skills and resilience.

The authors of the acclaimed book From Biting to Hugging: Understanding Social Development in Infants and Toddlers bring educators another go-to infant and toddler resource in Crying and Laughing: The Emotional Development of Infants and Toddlers. Learn crucial skills for creating a safe and nurturing environment for infants and toddlers in your care.

  • Understand how young children’s emotions develop
  • Create responsive and nurturing teacher-child interactions
  • Help children manage strong emotions
  • Reduce children’s emotional stress
  • Foster family engagement
  • Care for yourself
Donna Wittmer, PhD

Donna Wittmer, PhD, is associate professor emerita of early childhood and early childhood special education in the School of Education at the University of Colorado, Denver. She earned her doctorate in...

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Deanna W. Clauson

Deanna W. Clauson is a functional medicine certified health coach and a freelance writer. She earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill....

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“Grounded in the conviction that infants’ and toddlers’ emotions are valid, powerful, and multi-functional, Crying and Laughing is both a call to action and a delineation of focused strategies for early childhood professionals to respect and support infant and toddler emotional development. This book offers definitions of key terms, reflective vignettes, specific strategies, and example exercises, intertwined in a synthesis of research that is easily digestible and applicable. The book takes a strengths-based, whole-child approach as it guides the reader through how to support developmental milestones in infant and toddler emotional development. I highly recommend this book to professionals working with infants and toddlers, and to anyone who would like to learn more about the nuances in infant toddler emotional development. ”

Dr. Elizabeth King
Missouri State University, Assistant Professor

“The book, "Crying and Laughing: The Emotional Development of Infants and Toddlers," is chockful of practical, easy-to read information. This book is beautifully written by seasoned authors, Donna Wittmer and Deanna Clauson, with delightful, engaging scenarios and observations solidly backed up by pertinent research. It is a joy to recommend it to teachers, child care professionals, and parents to help them better understand and support young children's emotional development during the most important first three years of their lives. Clearly organized through the use of "10 keys," for example, "Strategies to Support Children's Feelings and Temperaments," the writers open doors for the readers to assist the infants and toddlers develop and flourish emotionally. Each chapter summary is effectively packed with useful ideas, such as the reflection and discussion of thoughts, review questions about the chapter, and suggestions for planning and implementing practical strategies to nurture emotional development. This gem of a book points to countless ways for parents and teachers to work together to help their children develop a sound foundation to build necessary emotional life skills. ”

Susan Miller Ed.D
Professor Emeriti, Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Kutztown University of PA

“Crying and Laughing offers caregivers a roadmap for understanding the inner world of infants and toddlers, placing emotional competence at the center of healthy child development. This book takes a relationship-based approach, helping caregivers understand the active role they play in cultivating young children’s emotional competence. Crying and Laughing is a helpful resource for the early childhood professional, or parent, who wants to understand the science behind emotional development, as well as how to be a mindful guide for all young children navigating the ups and downs of their emotional worlds. ”

Jennifer Mortensen
Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Nevada, Reno