This article sheds light on how children develop self-regulation and what adults who supervise them can help them develop this control sooner and better. For the purpose of this article, the definition of self-regulation has been taken from a report entitled “From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development, Shonkoff and Phillips (2000)” as being, “a child’s ability to gain control of bodily functions, manage powerful emotions, and maintain focus and attention” (p. 1). The authors explain that young children do not have total control over their urges, emotions and responses.
Early interaction with parents and caregivers initiates infants to learning how to manage their responses, as “experiences with manageable challenges, like having to wait a short time to be fed, promote healthy emotional regulation” (p. 2). To develop self-regulation, young children take cues from their caregivers’ responses. The article elaborates that “caring, consistent relationships with adults provide external supports that serve as the basis for self-regulation” (p. 3). Caregivers are also advised to consider the personal traits of each infant since every person is different and so are their responses to similar circumstances.
Teachers have to work patiently in identifying the traits of a child so that they can adapt their responses to fit the child’s temperament. “Understanding the impact of temperament and considering goodness of fit can assist teachers in selecting strategies that support the development of self-regulation”(p. 4). The article is insightful for me because it stresses that if a child is not responding in a desirable manner, then as a caregiver one must carefully observe the child’s specific traits and temperament. This can help caregivers respond better to the growing needs of a child and help them develop a strong ability to self-regulate.