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All About Self-Regulation

Self-regulation — it’s a concept that nearly all of us have learned, it’s a thing that we practice on a daily basis, and yet, it’s a term that most of us are (understandably) unfamiliar with. In today’s blog, our child care center is going to spend some time talking all things self-regulation. In our next blog, we’ll provide you with some ways to practice it at home with your young one — but the first step is understanding what it is.

No matter what, if you enroll your child for child care or preschool with Yellow Brick Road, you can trust that they’re getting the social-emotional and academic foundation they need to succeed, all throughout their life. Contact us to set up a tour with one of our four child care centers in the Twin Cities area!

What is self-regulation?

Self-regulation is the art of understanding our emotions, and knowing how to manage them. It’s a skill that takes time and practice to develop. It’s why you’ll commonly see a toddler throwing a tantrum at the grocery store, or a preschooler pushing another kid who took their toy away from them. Emotions are hard to deal with (and even scary), especially when we don’t have the words to understand or express how we’re feeling. A lack of self-regulation can present itself in outbursts, and much of this comes from that very frustration.

Like we mentioned, self-regulation is a skill — it’s not an inherent quality. To develop self-regulation, deliberate and intentional practice needs to take place. A child care center like Yellow Brick Road is the perfect place for kids to work on self-regulation, because they have countless opportunities for practice.

Is self-regulation confined to emotions?

It is not! Self-regulation is also about being able to manage behaviors and body movements. A child might see something they want, like a toy or a snack, and grab it, regardless of whether it’s appropriate (or if it’s theirs). Self-regulation can look similar to self-control, and often, the two go hand in hand.

Impulsivity is something that we all experience — even the most seasoned of adults have their moments! It might look differently than throwing a temper tantrum, but it goes to show that self-regulation is an ongoing skill that always needs practice and reflection.

Is a lack of self-regulation a cause for concern?

You might have moments as a parent where you look at your screaming child in utter confusion, thinking, “what is going on?!” This is normal. However, there are instances where a lack of self-regulation can indicate something more. It’s true that certain behavioral or cognitive disorders, such as ADHD, can lack some of the self-regulation skills we would expect at their age.

If your child is struggling with self-regulation, this doesn’t need to be an immediate cause for concern. As always, you can bring up any potential issues you notice with your child’s pediatrician or their child care teachers. Just know that self-regulation is something that we’ve all had to work on and learn!

How can I help my child develop this skill?

Great question! In our next blog, we’ll cover some self-regulation methods to help your young one out. Self-regulation is great because it not only helps you understand your child better, it helps them understand themselves better. Here’s a spoiler alert from our Part II blog… one of the best ways to help your child work on self-regulation is by enrolling them in an academic child care program that allows for plenty of guidance and practice. Set up a visit with one of our Yellow Brick Road locations in Plymouth, Minnetonka, Maple Grove, or Eden Prairie — we look forward to seeing you!