Self-regulation in young children

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Self-regulation is very important in children. It is the ability to control and manage the feelings and behaviour in comparison to the things going around you. Self-regulation includes
– Being calm in exciting news
– Be focused on the task
– Regulate impulses and emotions of frustration and excitement.
– Develop behaviour that will help in socialising

Why is it essential?
A child starts developing self-regulation from a very young age. The self-regulation in kids is necessary because it will help the child in the following ways
– Prepare well in the classroom and school
– Behave appropriately in the society so that the child can control impulses and not shout too loud in public
– Develop good manners such as sharing toys and playing games with the nearby kids that help to make friendships.
– Becoming independent, so that the child can himself learn what is right and what is bad for him. If your child is self-regulated, he will need very less help from you.
– Managing stress because self-regulation will offer the child the ability to control their feelings in cases of problems.

How does it develop?
Babies right from their birth do not have the ability of self-regulation. This ability develops the most in preschoolers or toddlers which continues until adulthood.
1. Babies
The baby is too young to be learning self-regulation, but you can assist them in controlling their feelings. When you try to comfort your upset baby by cuddling, they immediately calm down. This is helping your baby to learn how to calm herself. It is the first part of self-regulation.
2. Toddlers
When the baby grows up to a toddler, he will develop the initial stages of self-regulation, like to wait for things. When your child becomes about two years of age, they will learn to follow instructions and rules. This method of following regulations will continue even when you are not around. Nevertheless, they may also break specific rules so you will need to guide them.
3. Preschoolers
When your child attains the age of 3 or 4, he will be aware of how you want him to behave, so he will follow your advice and perform as per your guidance.
4. Schoolers
At this age, children begin to analyse everything, so they can competently respond to the activities. He will be able to bring in more control, but you may still need to guide them.

How to help them?
Your role is the most important. You can teach your children self-regulation by
– You can show your child to do any frustrating task without being upset. Thus, you are helping them to shape their self-regulation
– Explain the emotions to your child so they can understand them.
– Guide your child about how they should respond to their emotions in case of difficulties.
– Guide your child about the rules and how he should behave so he can understand what you expect from him.
– When he follows any rule successfully, make sure to praise him for his understanding.

Problems with self-regulation
The self-regulation of your child may be affected by the surroundings. Some kids respond differently based on the environment around them.

You should consult a professional if
– Your child creates too much trouble compared to kids of the same age
– Your child is finding it hard to control feelings while growing up.
– The behaviour of your child is fatal for the child itself.
– Your child cannot be adequately guided.
– Your child cannot socialise with others
– Compared to the other children, the social skills in your child is not as developed as the other kids.

Author: InfoKids Team

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