Tamar Jacobson

Ph.D.; Early childhood development and education consultant for early childhood programs, organizations, and families.

Philadelphia, US


Everyone Needs Attention: Helping Young Children Thrive


Attention seeking is seen as misbehavior in young children and giving them attention is often times interpreted as reinforcement of bad behavior. In this presentation, we learn how we manage our emotions when children seek our attention. Self-regulation requires small children to go it alone emotionally, and learn not to reach out or lean on adults who care for and educate them. Developing a balance of needing attention and learning to delay gratification can be taught through connection and relationship, not by exclusion and punishment. As we try to sift through appropriate strategies, we first get in touch with how we feel about the child’s attention-seeking behavior: What presses our buttons, what makes us anxious, how does our worldview or mindset affect how we respond? All these factors will influence the strategies we choose to respond to a child’s attention-seeking behavior.

Traditionally, early childhood teachers are taught strategies as some type of tools or a “quick fix” to control children’s behaviors. Together, we understand how we filter our understanding of discipline through emotional memory of punishment - how we perceivechildren’s behaviors in connection with how we remember being treated as young children. Self-reflection about what makes us adults tick emotionally is critical in helping children manage their own feelings. Let’s challenge ourselves to reflect on our own emotional histories and find strategies for responding to children in ways that support their emotional health and development.


Tamar Jacobson is an early childhood development and education consultant for early childhood programs, organizations, and families. She was born in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and traveled to Israel where she became a preschool teacher with the Israeli Ministry of Education. Jacobson completed a doctorate in early childhood education at the University at Buffalo (UB). As Director of the University at Buffalo Child Care Center (UBCCC), she created a training site for early childhood students from area colleges including UB.

Jacobson is a retired Professor from Rider University, New Jersey, and served as Chair of the Department of Teacher Education for seven years. Dr. Jacobson serves on the Consulting Editors Panel for NAEYC, was recipient of the 2003 Director of the Year Award, National Coalition of Campus Children’s Centers, the 2013 National Association for Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE) Outstanding Early Childhood Teacher Educator Award, and is a former Fellow in the Child Trauma Academy. Tamar Jacobson presents at International, National, State and Regional levels. She is author of: Confronting Our Discomfort: Clearing the Way for Anti-Bias (Heinemann, 2003), Don’t Get So Upset! Help Young Children Manage Their Feelings by Understanding Your Own (Redleaf Press, 2008), Everyone Needs Attention: Helping Young Children Thrive (Redleaf Press, 2018).

More information can be found at: https://tamarika.typepad.com/tamar_jacobson/