How to Cultivate and Nurture Children’s Self-Regulation Skills?

August 10, 2021 by admin

When children become ah, it is easy for us to label them as naughty, manipulative and attention seeking. But most of the time, they exhibit these behaviors because they don’t know how to deal with big emotions when they encounter stressors. Self-regulation is the ability to manage their emotions, remain calm and solve problems.

Self-regulation is both a temperament and a learned behavior. According to clinical psychologist Dr. Matthew Rouse, PhD, “a child’s innate capacities for self-regulation is temperamental and personality-based.” For example, some babies may take a long time to soothe, while others can adapt to the environment. But the environment can also contribute to self-regulation. Indeed, stressors from social interactions, biological issues (such as sickness, noisy environments and fatigue), strong emotional responses and activities that is overwhelming with memory or attention can impact children’s ability to self-regulate. Parents’ responses also play a role, as parents who give into their tantrums or severely punish their children will lead to them having a hard time developing self-discipline or expressing their needs.

Why is self-regulation important? Regulating emotions is an important block for children’s mental and physical health, school success, attention and problem-solving skills and language learning. While teaching them these skills, you should take in mind of your child’s personality, environment and how you interact with your child. For example, make sure there is extra time to warm up for children who are shy, observe and tune into your child’s cues as they react to a situation and modify the environment to ensure it is a positive one.

So how can we help children develop these skills? Here are some helpful tips:

1. Scaffolding through discussion and reflection
Scaffolding breaks concepts into small chunks and provide a structure for children to learn by completing things in little chunks. Instead of overwhelming your child with lectures if they react negatively to a situation, break down what you would like to say in small chunks of discussion questions. This will help you understand where they are coming from and if there are any misunderstandings, as well as guide them on expectations. By teaching them how to identify their feelings and listening to them in an objective way, they can understand what went wrong and find ways to handle better next time. Children who have not yet developed a structure when encountering problems can find usable directions through discussions. Having children reflect through mindfulness and writing what happened also helps students be aware of their feelings before taking action.

2. Practice Mindfulness
Paying attention to our feelings and thoughts at the present moment helps us identify our feelings and cultivates a gentle and accepting attitude. While our brains are busy navigating our lives, the young child’s brain is also developing at the fastest rate. By taking a break through deep breathes and thinking about good things that were accomplished, this fosters children’s happiness and relieve their negative emotions, as well as teaching better self-care skills. For active children, you can try having children focused on making a pose, turning on their “spidey-senses” to focus on a particular sense and taking them on guided adventures such as imaging going to a safari.


3. Recognize the Higher Goal and Make a Plan

Most negative reactions are done on impulse or triggered by a reaction. For example, the reason why we don’t yell at the librarian reading a story is because we want to hear the story. The reason why we wait for the birthday cake to be cut into pieces is because we want our friend to have the opportunity to blow the birthday candle, and everyone to enjoy the cake. Empathy, learning and social relationships are higher goals that prevent us from doing things on impulse, and let your child know that too. When your child is ready for more, you can provide them with a set of choices to make a decision or set goals and plans for themselves. Using planners, schedules and goal setting or decision-making worksheets, children learn how to make short- and long-term plans and decisions. Remember to also acknowledge that self-regulation is hard (it is takes work to make sure you complete all your assignments on time so you can get the latest toy!), and if your child has a difficult time, be sure to help them conquer and succeed.

4. Growth Mindset vs Rewards
It is tempting to provide children with rewards for a job well done. As much as we would like to do so, more parents hope that their children are intrinsically motivated to these tasks – doing them because they want to, being able to try and persevere and believing in themselves and their abilities without rewards. Young children often have a fixed mindset, which means that they don’t assume things will change. If you tell them that they are good at music, they will think that they are and when they have trouble playing a musical ability, they will think that they don’t have the ability. However, if you consistently comment on their effort and hard work, they will believe that they are good at this skill because they worked hard on it. But take in mind that when you praise them, it is not an effort, but rather helping your child reflect on how they feel when they work hard on something. Developing this growth mindset encourages children to persevere and continue to try and take on challenges.

5. Teach Them Problem-Solving Skills
Guide your child on how to adjust or correct to issues on their behavior. Asking them can be a helpful eye-opener that leads to creative solutions. That said, children learn best by watching adults so modeling positive behavior, such as watching not being angry when your team lost. Don’t worry if you have points of improvements! Instead, show that you are working on these areas, so your child know that you also want to be better! Besides your routine, you can also provide fun opportunities in which children have to think of solutions to solve an issue, such as tangram.

Related Posts
#FreeToolTips - 8 Free Testing/Quizzing Tools for Teachers The school season is in full swing and you need to get the budding geniuses prepped up before the Thanksgiving...
10 Amazing Health Education Worksheets - Life Skills - Grades 11 & 12 This article is focused on Health Education – Independent living. They are geared toward 11th and 12th graders. As students...