Self-regulation is the ability to control your own behavior.  When we have an impulse to jump or shout, to eat too much, to run across the street, or to strike out at something or someone, our self-regulation enables us to make a good choice about whether it is best to follow the impulse.  Our impulses are based in emotion, and our self-regulation is based in cognition.

The foundation of self-regulation is developed in the first five years of life, and continues to develop over time as children grow and develop cognitively, socially, and emotionally. In our early childhood classrooms, all of the children are working on their self-regulation skills, whether through completing difficult work from the shelves, remembering not to throw too hard in play, or being patient when frustrated with a friend.

When a child experiences challenges or frustrations, we see this as an opportunity to help the student learn.  The most powerful way we can help children learn self-regulation is by providing acceptable solutions as choices and then the opportunity to make decisions, and by modeling self-regulation during ordinary activities.

If you would like more information about supporting your child as he or she learns self-regulation, consider registering for a Positive Discipline class or refresher, where you will practice the tools of providing limited choices, encouragement, and positive reinforcement of appropriate behaviors.