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Self-Regulation in Early Childhood Education

What does "self-regulation" mean, and how can teachers of young children help children to regulate their behavior?

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The early-childhood years are a very important time in the development of children's ability to self-regulate their emotions and behaviors. Self-regulation skills include impulse control, the ability to delay gratification, the ability to self-guide behaviors and the ability to respond to the needs of others. Children who are able to self-regulate can wait for a turn, willingly clean up their toys, resist the impulse to take a toy from another child, maintain attention during teacher-led activities, assist another child who needs help, and control their own emotions. Most children do not fully develop self-regulation skills until after kindergarten, but 3-4 year-old children should be well along the road to acquiring these skills. However, ...

Solution Summary

This article explains the term "self-regulation" as it applies to preschool aged children. It also gives statistics about the percentage of children who are lacking self-regulation skills and goes on to offer some suggestions for helping children to learn these skills, based on the writings of Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky.