There has been a lot of buzz lately around the topic of self-regulation. But what exactly does it mean?
When thinking about young children, self-regulation refers to the ability to:
For example, a child who is fatigued or stressed at the end of the day may not be calm enough to follow his parents’ directions when getting ready for bed, but may have done well following the routines of his school day.
Some children may feel overwhelmed in a busy grocery store and start to cry as soon as you enter. Other children might seem bored during quieter activities like story time. They might seem distracted and it could be difficult to get their attention.
Think about when you learned best. It was likely when you were calm, interested and engaged.
Self-regulation is a key building block for nearly every aspect of a child’s development, learning and growth, including:
There are many different things that could make it easier or more difficult for your child to self-regulate. As parents, you know your children best and can recognize when there is a shift in how well they are responding and participating. Think of what works to help them move to a more calm and alert place.
You might consider:
Interactions in which your child is meaningfully engaged can help maintain regulation. We can do this by following the child’s lead and responding to their ideas and communication. By taking the time to observe, listen and respond to their ideas, you’ll make it more likely that your child will stay motivated, calmly engaged and attentive.
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