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Building Early Social and Emotional Relationships with Infants and Toddlers

Integrating Research and Practice

  • Book
  • © 2018


  • Synthesizes research on infant attachment, family relationships, caregiving practices, and social-emotional development
  • Presents an integrated theory of building early relationships across disciplines, including psychology, education, family studies, and pediatrics
  • Focuses on specific developmental periods from birth through three years
  • Examines intervention and prevention programs focused on building early relationships

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About this book

This book provides a comprehensive overview of the process of building healthy early social and emotional relationships with infants from a developmental perspective. The book synthesizes current research on the contextual influences of attachment, family relationships, and caregiving practices on social-emotional development. Chapters examine the processes of socioemotional development—particularly in relationships with parents, other family members, and peers—and identify areas for promoting healthy attachments and resilience, improving caregiving skills, and intervening in traumatic and stressful situations.  Chapters also present empirically-supported intervention and prevention programs focused on building early relationships from birth through three years of age. The book concludes with future directions for supporting infant mental health and its vital importance as a component of research, clinical and educational practice, and child and family policy.

Topics featured in this book include:

  • The effect of prenatal and neonatal attachment on social and emotional development.
  • The impact of primary relationships and early experiences in toddlerhood.
  • Toddler autonomy and peer awareness in the context of families and child care.
  • Supporting early social and emotional relationships through The Legacy for Children™ Intervention.
  • How to build early relationship programming across various cultures.

Building Early Social and Emotional Relationships with Infants and Toddlers is a must-have reference for researchers, clinicians and professionals, and graduate students in the fields of infant mental health, developmental psychology, pediatrics, public health, family studies, and early childhood education.

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Table of contents (14 chapters)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of Human Development and Family Science, Oklahoma State University, Tulsa, USA

    Amanda Sheffield Morris

  • Department of Human Development and Family Science, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, USA

    Amy C. Williamson

About the editors

Amanda Sheffield Morris, Ph.D., is the George Kaiser Family Foundation chair in Child Development and a Regents Professor at Oklahoma State University. She is a developmental scientist and a Cooperative Extension Child Development Specialist with research interests in parenting, socio-emotional development, and infant and early childhood mental health. Her research focuses on the role of emotion regulation in children and adolescents' adjustment and the ways in which children learn successful regulation skills. Another focus of her work is child and family resilience, and she is particularly interested in how early experiences shape later development with an emphasis on the parent-child relationship. Dr. Morris has published more than 60 articles and book chapters on child development, and her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Administration for Children and Families, and the George Kaiser Family Foundation. She is endorsed as a Level IV ResearchMentor by the Oklahoma Association for Infant Mental Health.

Amy C. Williamson, Ph.D., is the Ramona Ware Emmons Paul Professor in Early Childhood in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at Oklahoma State University. She earned her doctorate in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her research interests include infant social and emotional development, early childhood mental health, teacher-child relationships, and early childhood teacher well-being and professional development.. She regularly publishes and presents on these and related topics. The overall focus of her work is to improve outcomes for children and families by improving the relationships between very young children and the significant caregivers in their lives. Prior to academia, she worked in a variety of settings in the field of early care and education, including time as an early childhood center director, kindergarten teacher, and early care and education teacher.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Building Early Social and Emotional Relationships with Infants and Toddlers

  • Book Subtitle: Integrating Research and Practice

  • Editors: Amanda Sheffield Morris, Amy C. Williamson

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Behavioral Science and Psychology, Behavioral Science and Psychology (R0)

  • Copyright Information: Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-03109-1Published: 22 February 2019

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-03110-7Published: 09 February 2019

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XVII, 351

  • Number of Illustrations: 7 b/w illustrations, 9 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Developmental Psychology, Pediatrics, Family

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