Self-regulation - learning to manage emotions

Self-regulation allows children to manage their emotions, behaviour and body movements when they’re in a difficult situation.

Self-regulation is a skill that develops slowly. It is quite normal for a two or three-year-old to have a tantrum, but if older children regularly have tantrums, there may be a problem with self-regulation.

The development of self-regulation is linked with successful learning, including reading, mathematics and problem-solving. A number of studies suggest that improving the self-regulation skills of children in the early years, is likely to have a lasting positive impact on learning at school.

How to help a pre-school child to self-regulate:

  • Get down to eye level
  • Stay calm yourself
  • Give empathy, and tell them that you can see that they are upset
  • Try to help them self soothe
  • Be patient
  • Much later, talk to the child about better choices