Social-Emotional Development of Toddlers: Randomized Controlled Trial of an Office-Based Intervention

Donna Hallas, Mary Koslap-Petraco, Jason Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose During the toddler years, temper tantrums and impulsive behaviors are the norm. These behaviors can frustrate even the most experienced mothers. Design and Methods A prospective, double blind, randomized controlled trial using pre-test/post-test experimental design was used to examine the effectiveness of an office-based educational program to improve maternal confidence and the social-emotional development of toddlers. The Toddler Care Questionnaire (TCQ) was administered to all mothers as a pre and post intervention test. The treatment intervention was a videotaped (DVD) parenting skills intervention on the social-emotional development of toddlers and on maternal confidence in caring for toddlers. Results Sixty mothers and 60 toddlers entered the study with 29 mothertoddler dyads randomized to the treatment group and 31 to the control group. Twenty-six (26) mother-toddler dyads in the treatment and 25 mother-toddler dyads in the control group completed the study. Pairwise comparisons of adjusted means showed significant improvements for both toddler groups on the Brigance toddler screen, and no statistically significant difference in gains between the groups. The mixed model results for the TCQ showed an overall significant improvement from preto post-test, and a non-significant interaction between group and time indicting no significant difference in gains seen by treatment groups. Conclusions Brief educational programs on DVD's are an efficient way to offer information to mothers while in the office waiting area. Practice Implications: Pediatric nurses who encounter mothers who struggle with caring for their toddlers may find brief-office based interventions a valuable tool for educating parents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of pediatric nursing
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Maternal confidence
  • Social-emotional development
  • Toddler

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics


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