The Importance of Self-Regulation

By Renee Hennessy, Director of PreschoolPSTurkey_2

From the time that we put the fallen pacifier back into our child’s mouth during the night until we offer guidance on managing anger, “saving for a rainy day,” or making a point about setting goals, we are assisting our children with self-regulation.  Bruce Duncan Perry, M.D., Ph.D, states that “the transition from external regulation to self-regulation is one of the most important tasks of growing up.  Healthy self-regulation is related to the capacity to tolerate the sensations of distress that accompany an unmet need” (Early Childhood Today).

Self-regulation is related to maturity, independence, responsibility and delayed gratification.  It is first seen when a baby stirs from sleep and drifts back to sleep without crying or assistance from an adult.  It is evident when a child no longer grabs a toy away from another child, but is willing to wait his or her turn.  Self-regulation is at work when a toddler becomes hungry, but willingly waits a few minutes for food without a tantrum.  At the Preschool, we are dedicated to providing experiences, holding expectations, and teaching skills that nurture self-regulation.  It may be seen in separating from a parent or trying a new snack or learning how to enter the play with peers.

Here’s a link to more information on the subject of self-regulation.