Self-Regulation: Defining Self-Regulation

By January 19, 2016Parkland Players

This is the first post in a series of posts about self-regulation.

Self-regulation is a growing area of research for early childhood education. Self-regulation can simply be defined as a child’s ability to calmly focus on a task and stay alert. A large part of self-regulation is self-control.

The better a child is at self-regulation, the better they can take in information, process various stimuli and form connections through thought and action. Nurturing a child’s skillset for self-regulation is central to helping them build the ability to cope with stress and the increasing challenges they face as they get older. It helps them with understanding and responding appropriately to their emotional reactions, and helps build a foundation for positive interaction with the self and others.

Five Domain Model (advanced by Baumeister & Voh’s in Handbook of Self-Regulation)The five domain model is one way of defining self regulation, and distinguishing it from self control. The suggestion is that self-regulation permeates into a number of areas of development, these areas are:

  • Temperament (refers to the ability to regulate one’s level or arousal)
  • Emotion Development (refers to control of emotions)
  • Cognitive Development (refers to ability to regulate goal-oriented behaviour)
  • Social Development (refers to interpersonal and social skills)
  • Educational Theory (refers to awareness of one’s own academic strengths and weaknesses and ability to handle academic tasks)

The key to defining and understanding self-regulation based on the above is the idea that staying alert and focused for children is required in many settings and is accomplished in many ways, and the better a child can master the skill of the self-regulation, the better they will be at conducting themselves in a variety of situations.



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