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What Is Self-Regulation?

Self-regulation is the way in which people manage their emotions, attention and behaviours. Effective self-regulation strategies should be socially acceptable and we should be able to adapt our behaviours to match the different contexts such as school/home/shopping centre etc.


We want children to learn how to self-regulate themselves. As adults we aren't always very good at this and our emotions display themselves in many different ways. But we draw on our experiences to help ourselves through things. 

For example:

As adults, when we attend an interview we think back to previous interviews that we have had. We think of the times we have seen interviews in videos (movies and television) as well as conversations we have had with friends and family. We can relax and prepare ourselves for this experience because we have more understanding of what is happening. 

For a child, this isn't always possible. 

For example:

Nina is attending Nursery for the first time today. Her mum wasn't able to bring her to visit the setting before her first day and now she is being left for the whole morning. Mum has to rush to work and Nina has no clue what is going on. She hasn't been to a Nursery before so doesn't understand why there are so many people about or why she can't go the kitchen herself. She gets confused when she wants the toilet because she is used to the toilet being white and in a small room whereas there are multiple toilets in one space here and everyone can see in. Nina gets very upset about all of this and finds the first morning at Nursery to be a traumatic one. She doesn't know how to explain how she feels so cries for the whole morning. The staff try to comfort her by distracting her. 

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