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What is Self-Regulation?

Little Kids Build Wooden Toys At Home Or Daycare. Emotional Kids

What is Self-Regulation?  Does this term sound familiar?  More than likely, it does! Self-regulation is a critical skill we all use each and every day.  It involves our ability to regulate thought, behavior and emotions.  Think of it this way:  You are standing in line to checkout at the grocery store when someone cuts in front of you.  As an adult, your self-regulation skills help you respond appropriately to the situation.  Obviously, you are not going to hit the person that cut in line but you might politely point out that the end of the line is behind you.  Children learn these types of skills by watching you!  Your behavior provides a model for what self-regualtion is and how to incorporate it into their interactions with others.  Simple things… like saying, “Your turn is next,” when a child is waiting in line for the sliding board, provide cues that help children build self-regulation skills. Similarly, using language to identify feelings helps children build a knowledge base they can then use on their own.  For instance, if a child is very frustrated because his/her block structure keeps falling down, you might say, “Wow. You seem very frustrated because every time you put a block on top, your tower falls over.”  Over time, the child will begin to understand what “frustrated” means and start using it on his/her own.  Developing strong self-regulation skills at a young age helps children achieve success down the road on many different levels.

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