Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Self Regulation and Academic Abilities

More research is being published in the Early Childhood Research Quarterly on self regulation skills in young children. The researchers studied 1298 children from birth through first grade. After controlling for at risk factors such as ethnic minority status, low maternal education, low family income and chronic depressive symptoms in the mother, children with strong self regulation skills in preschool and kindergarten did significantly better on math, reading and vocabulary at the end of first grade. The researchers recommend that we teach young children how to self regulate.

Need ideas for teaching self regulation? Check out these self regulation activities suggested by one of the authors of this research study.

Reference: Michaella Sektnana, Megan M. McClellanda, Alan Acocka and Frederick J. Morrison Relations between early family risk, children's behavioral regulation, and academic achievement Article in press Early Childhood Research Quarterly doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2010.02.005


Anonymous said...

I question the premise that self-regulation can be taught in very young children. Self-regulation requires cognitive skills expected at what typical chronological age? Is that established? Or, is self-regulation more a matter of nature than nurture - a child must mature to this skill? Barbara

Your Therapy Source Inc said...

Barbara, It depends what you are considering very young children? I definitely think it can be introduced in very young children. Isn't that what we do as parents and teachers to help toddlers calm themselves, or to not hit peers, to share toys and not meltdown, etc...? We are teaching them to gain control of their actions/ emotions in a rudimentary form. This is certainly my personal opinion, but it is my belief that a lack of self regulation also stems from starting regimented curriculum at a young age. Young children are expected to sit and learn so early losing out on experiences to learn self regulation in social situations. I will have to get back to you on what typical chronological age does is self regulation expected. Good questions.

Anonymous said...

Yes, agreeing with your answer. We do help young (ages 2-3 years) to learn to self-regulate. My favorite example is after seeing a toddler cry secondary to a boo-boo, asking the child to self-evaluate, "Are you alright?" instead of instant sympathy and comfort - which can be given if deemed necessary.

At the same time, by putting parameters such as sitting to learn in a group requires self-regulation, doesn't it?

Another (often knee-jerk) response to the child who does not calm easily is to call it 'sensory'. Have seen the opposite of promoting self-regulation in almost enabling behaviors between adults and children.

Perhaps a good question, but one I do not want to be primary investigator for that study! ;)

Your Therapy Source Inc said...

I agree sitting in a group definitely teaches self regulation. Just not so sure our preschoolers and kindergartners need to be sitting in a group for as many hours per day as they are in some schools.

I, too, am concerned that children's behaviors are tagged "sensory" before other options/plan of actions are explored. We ALL experience sensory needs.

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