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Maintenance, Regulation, and Control: SELF REGULATION

“Feel the feeling but don’t become the emotion. Witness it. Allow it. Realize it .”

Self-regulation is the ability to tolerate unfilled wants or needs, monitor, and manage emotions in different situations, regulate thoughts handle disappointments and failures, and work toward success. Self-regulation is essential for success in school, work, and life and to improve the quality of life. Self regulation encloses self-discipline, delay  of gratification, the ability to think before acting, motor control, sustained attention, cognitive flexibility, and task persistence.

Self-regulation is important in that it allows you to act in accordance with your deeply held values or social conscience and to express yourself appropriately om desired conditions.

One important aspect that everyone should know about self-regulation is the successful integration of emotion (what a child feels) and cognition (what a child knows or can do) resulting in appropriate behavior according to the situation.

Some children unconsciously can self regulate without even realizing what they are doing; while other children require the assistance of an adult to identify that the child is not self-regulating and engage the child in an activity to help the child self regulate.

Research indicates that self-regulation in children is a predictor of academic abilities. Children with higher levels of self-regulation have achieved higher scores in reading, vocabulary, and math. In addition, some research has shown that the ability for young children to self regulate is associated with higher, future education levels.

If the child is facing self-regulation difficulties and not addressed by any medical professional the child might encounter anxiety, inappropriate behavior responses to a task, difficulty focusing during instructional learning, challenges with social skills, and difficulty coping with changes in daily routines, difficulties in integrating adapted responses as per the situation. Children who don’t learn to self-regulate usually have a harder time transitioning to school.

Those who are impulsive are more likely to become obese, more likely to smoke, more likely to become dependent on alcohol or drugs, and more likely to commit crimes. Poor self-regulation skills also contribute to truancy issues. When a child learns to tolerate some anxiety, the child will be much less reactive and regulate by himself. Self-regulation skills develop gradually, so it is important that adults hold developmentally appropriate expectations for children’s behavior.

 “By being able to put a moment in between a feeling and an action, the child can take time to think, plan, and usually come up with an appropriate response to the current challenge.”

For example, if you are standing in a queue you will wait for your turn, wait in a line, follow respective norms learn to tolerate and manage on your own for proceeding next. These events are examples of the managing skills of self regulation by own .

“Self-regulation is not an end pointing in a child’s development, but a journey which has many pits to cross”

 During the first years of life, caregivers are particularly the source of development. Young children are dependent upon their caregivers to create a safe, nurturing, and appropriately stimulating environment so they can learn about the world around them.

What does self-regulation look like in different stages of life?

In infancy: Shifting attention or averting gaze when overwhelmed  Self-soothing by sucking fingers or a pacifier to reduce distress. During the first year, babies learn how it feels to have their needs met, and gradually learn to create that feeling (known as “self-soothing”) with less help from you. Through this maturation process, the baby learns ways to calm himself when upset.

In toddlerhood: During the toddler stage, children learn more about feelings and expressions, and begin to connect situations to emotions.   Focusing attention for short periods, Adjusting behavior to achieve goals  Beginning to label feelings,  Briefly delaying gratification, Turning to adults for help with strong feelings. As children’s self-regulation and language skills develop develops at this stage, their temper tantrums and emotional outbursts often become more manageable and happen less often. They started understanding and expressing.

In preschool-aged children:  Between the ages of 3 and 5, children begin to understand the relationship between their feelings and their behavior. This means that during these years, it is critical for parents and caregivers to help children identify and implement self-regulation strategies, such as practicing waiting and naming emotions. For parents of preschool children, this involves setting limits and expectations for behavior. Preschool-age children have greater control over their impulses, and they are starting to think before they act. Recognizing a growing array of feelings in self and others  Identifying solutions to simple problems  With support, using strategies like deep breaths and self-talk to calm down  Focusing attention and persisting on difficult tasks for increased lengths of time  Perspective-taking and early empathy has started developing in kids at this stage.

Parents and other caregivers are the foundations in the development of self-regulation :

There is a well-established link between parenting and the development of self-regulation in childhood which says that in a comprehensive literature review, parental warmth, responsiveness, and sensitivity support self-regulation development and may buffer the effects of other stressors in the family and environment. Parents are not the only caregivers shaping the lives of young children, however. Child care providers, preschool teachers, extended family members, and other adults who spend significant time caring for children can be instrumental in supporting their development of self-regulation. The link to an article has been attached below.

Blog by: Aayushi Kapoor || CRR No: Not Mentioned

Profession: Occupational Therapist

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    • Posted Date: Jun 27, 2020

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