Early Childhood

TUESDAY TIP - Encouraging Self-Regulation in Young Children

Have you ever heard yourself telling your child to “calm down”? Let’s take a moment together in this week’s Tuesday Tip and think about those words. Together, we will spend a few moments to think about how we encourage our children to have “self-control.” In fact, I urge you to replace those words with “self-regulation”.

Today’s children live at a very high-paced lifestyle. We hurry them often. Think about how many times you hurry your children. Does your list match mine?

  • ·      In the morning
  • ·      To athletic practices
  • ·      To finish their meals
  • ·      To fine arts class
  • ·      To finish reading a book
  • ·      To finish playing a game
  • ·      To go to bed even!

…. And I haven’t even listed the high paced video games they engage in for sometimes hours each day!...

It’s okay! We all have done it and it almost always is a necessity! However, let’s take some time to be aware of how often we rush our children and then think about the side effects this can have on our children from age birth to five years.

Here at Concordia, using research to improve all aspects of educational services is a cornerstone of how we work and collaborate with one another and with our parents and greater community. As I prepare each Tuesday Tip, I always consult recent research. Regarding my research on this topic, I located a worthwhile article presented by NPR on the world wide web. An author, Barbara J. King, published an article titled, “Why It’s ‘Self-Reg,’ Not Self-Control, That Matters Most For Kids.”

Her article effectively contrasts ‘self-control’ versus ‘self-regulation’. She states that children may not understand what we mean when we tell them to “calm down” since their environment is often such a fast-paced environment, due to how often we rush our children.

Her article goes on to suggest that we must intentionally slow down the pace for our children at home first, especially from birth to age five. Therefore, when a three- or four-year-old begins preschool or prekindergarten and the teacher asks the students to sit in circle time on the carpet, listen quietly while a friend presents, eat lunch quietly, play with peaceful hands at the sensory table, create art with a gentle touch, and so on, they will have had ample opportunities to know what “peaceful” or “calm” feels like because it’s been a part of daily home life.

As parents, our young children rely on us for everything. We provide food, clothing, education, toys, vacations, and much more. But do we provide them peace? As you prepare your children for success in school and in life, I encourage you to share peaceful experiences for them at home and outside home. I used to play soft classical music for my sons every evening when we shared our evening book time. This helped them become calm before bed. Now they are adults and they recently recalled loving our music moments (that’s what I called them). When my adult sons are stressed today, they informed me that they play soft classical music and recenter. They thank me for teaching them that. As a parent helping a child learn ‘self-regulation’ consider one of my favorite parenting quotes, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

I urge you to read the linked article and learn more about how you can support your child to learn “self-regulation” and increase moments of peace at home. Then, as teachers need peaceful hands and minds for learning, it will be familiar to your children and they will THRIVE!

Together for Educational Excellence,

Ms. McIntyre (Ms. Mac)

EC Assistant Principal