Parenting and toddler self-regulation in low-income families: What does sleep have to do with it? Journal Article uri icon



  • Toddlerhood is a sensitive period in the development of self-regulation, a set of adaptive skills that are fundamental to mental health and partly shaped by parenting. Healthy sleep is known to be critical for self-regulation; yet, the degree to which child sleep alters interactive child-parent processes remains understudied. This study examines associations between observed parenting and toddler self-regulation, with toddler sleep as a moderator of this association. Toddlers in low-income families (N = 171) and their mothers were videotaped during free play and a self-regulation challenge task; videos were coded for mothers' behavior and affect (free play) and toddlers' self-regulation (challenge task). Mothers reported their child's nighttime sleep duration via questionnaire. Results revealed significant Sleep × Maternal Negative Affect and Sleep × Maternal Negative Control interactions. Children who did not experience negative parenting had good self-regulation regardless of their nighttime sleep duration. For children who did experience negative parenting, self-regulation was intact among those who obtained more nighttime sleep, but significantly poorer among children who were getting less nighttime sleep. Thus, among children who were reported to obtain less nighttime sleep, there were more robust associations between negative parenting and poorer self-regulation than among toddlers who were reported to obtain more sleep.

publication date

  • July 1, 2019

Full Author List

  • Julian MM; Leung CYY; Rosenblum KL; LeBourgeois MK; Lumeng JC; Kaciroti N; Miller AL

Other Profiles

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 479

end page

  • 495


  • 40


  • 4