Your child is born with a genetically determined self regulation profile. Over the next five years of life she will express this profile. During these years you have the opportunity and responsibility to support her own . Many aspects of social, emotional and cognitive development are involved in self regulation. It is best described as an integration of emotion and cognition and results in the behaviors your child will express.
Self regulation includes a child’s ability to control their own impulses as well as the capacity to do somethig they would prefer not to do. In order for her to do this effectively she must learn to recognize and understand her own feelings. This understanding will provide her with the skills she needs to manage her own emotions. This is the foundation of self regulation. Your child watches you. They learn more from what they see then what they hear. Your understanding and patterns of response effect their behavior. So, react wisely and choose the patterns you want to support while avoiding behaviors you do not want to see your child develop.
Many aspects of social, emotional and cognitive development are involved in self regulation. It is best described as an integration of emotion and cognition and results in the behaviors your child will express.
Self regulation develops over time and depends on your child’s developmental level. It is very important you understand developmental skills before you set your expectations about your child’s ability to self regulate. Infants rely on you for until six months or older. They have a limited ability to self regulate. They rely on you for food, comfort, sleep and social interaction. You must attend to their cues to understand their needs and wants. It is through this attention founded in love that attachment develops. This attachment provides the security your child needs to develop their own skills to self soothe and calm themselves. Toddlers have more skills and are learning how to connect their feelings and emotions to situations and events. They are newcomers to this skill and consequently their responses swing widely from happiness to sadness and tears to laughter. This self regulation growth is mirrored in their language development and as they grow older their language skills can be used to make their emotional outbursts and temper tantrums more manageable. By preschool your child will begin to understand the connection beween the feelings they have and the behaviors they express. This the crucial time for you to use shaping, modeling and emotional coaching techniques along with traditional limit setting to help them choose and implement self regulation strategies. Your involvement combined with realistic expectations and the anticipation of inappropriate behavior can help this time become less turbulent.