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Ways to Foster Self-Regulation Skills



What is Self-Regulation?


When children are born, the brain is ready to make connections that support the beginnings of self-regulation. As children become toddlers and then preschoolers, their brain capacity for self-regulation increases rapidly. As I have mentioned in previous posts, this capacity will not be fully realized without a supportive environment; just like literacy and math skills. For mathematical development, we encourage open-ended, playful exploration that allows for children to solve problems in naturalistic situations. The situations are meaningful, and children gain a deeper understanding of number, quantity, size and patterns. Self-regulation is the same, in that, children need structured environments to hone the skill. Offering supportive relationships and direct teaching for self-regulation skills is crucial to this important skill.




What is Self-Regulation in the Early Childhood Classroom?

Self-regulation encompasses various aspects crucial for a child's development:

  • Impulse control

  • Expressing emotions

  • Recognizing emotions

  • Focusing on a task

  • Making good decisions

  • Resolving conflict



Time spent in providing a caring, affectionate relationship & safety and security for a child plays a foundational role in promoting their well-being across the lifespan. Helping children to manage their thoughts and feelings is crucial as they navigate these learning experiences. A big part of self-regulation is controlling impulses and behaviors. We must teach children how to behave in social settings such as mealtimes, shopping, listening to stories, and being in a group of peers.


What Can You Do at Home?

Here are some practical tips for fostering self-regulation at home:


  • Let your child do some things on their own.

  • Support them to do new things and solve problems.

  • Talk to your child about feelings. Help them find ways to calm themselves.

  • Help your child understand routines.

  • Be sure to say goodbye when you leave your child.

  • Make time to play with other children. Go to the park, have playdates, or join a playgroup.


In conclusion, self-regulation is a vital skill that children need to develop for their overall well-being and success in life. By providing a supportive environment both at home and in the early childhood classroom, we can help children cultivate these essential skills from a young age.

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