The term self-regulation is receiving a lot of attention from the educational community. Self-regulation is the ability for children to calm their emotions once they become angry, aggressive, sad, or overly excited. As many preschool programs focus more on academic skills, more children seem to be struggling with the ability to calm down after experiencing intense emotional experiences. When children are asked to sit still and focus longer than is developmentally appropriate, teachers can see a strong social/emotional response. Self-regulation is an essential skill for school readiness. If children are able to exhibit self-control and regulate their own emotions, then they will be more prepared to pay attention to academic curriculum. Students who come to kindergarten without control of their emotions will have more difficulty learning reading and math curriculum. They may lose valuable classroom time trying to identify their feelings and calm down after becoming emotional. These children will also struggle with their own confidence, self-control, and emotional stability.
Teachers and parents can easily identify children lacking these skills. Some of the most common signs include:
Early childhood educators can help children learn to regulate their emotions. This will help children be more prepared for Kindergarten, and it will also help children feel more confident and secure. Here are some strategies that can help children develop self-control over their emotions:
All early childhood educators need to help young children develop control over their emotions so that they are emotionally prepared for continuing their education. Social and emotional development is a foundation of the early childhood classroom and should be a top priority for educators as they plan their classroom goals!
Dr. Sarah Vanover has been working in the field of early childhood education for over 22 years and has had the opportunity to be a teacher, a director, and a trainer for other early childhood educators. She has a passion for making sure that children with special needs receive high-quality early care and education.