5 Tips for Promoting Self-Regulation in Preschool Children: A Parents Guide

 5 Tips For Promoting Self -Regulation in Preschool Children: A Parent’s Guide

Our social world requires us to control our behavior, our emotions, and our thinking. Control over ourselves is a skill that helps us navigate our surroundings fluidly- resolve conflict, problem solve, think independently, participate and get along with others. So, in order for us to be successful in all things in life, self-regulation skills are a must.

This comes into play even during the early years. Our earliest experiences with formal schooling require us to sit, listen, pay attention and get along with others continuously and simultaneously. The management of the interplay among our behavior, emotions and thinking requires practice and support.

Parents can help children develop self-regulation skills by incorporating simple activities into their home lives. Here are five tips parents can use to promote the skills needed to be ready for schooling and life:


How Can I Promote Self-Regulation Skills?


  1. Include your child in decision-making processes


Children learn to model the language you use, as well as the processes you enact to make thoughtful decisions. Additionally, by incorporating and weighing your child’s ideas, you help him/her develops the confidence and skills to think independently and actively.


  1. Offer your child time for exploratory play


Uninterrupted, hands-on play experiences allow the child time to delve into projects, attend to details, and use their imagination. Blocks become castles, discarded paper can become menus, scarves can become superhero capes. Play time affords children the ability to plan their own activities, find and develop interests, explore materials, problem solve and even use simple abstract thinking. Most importantly, these experiences support the notion that self-guided play and learning is valuable.

            Learn more


  1. Provide tasks/responsibilities for your child to complete independently

Encourage your child’s independence by providing tasks for him or her to complete. This will spark confidence and create initiative within the child that will then influence future behavior (and can also be helpful for you).


  1. Engage your child in exploratory conversations

Language guides our thinking and our behavior. Not only do we use it to communicate with others, we use it internally to monitor ourselves. Encourage your child’s language development by engaging him or her in meaningful conversations, allowing for your child to explore and explain thoughts and feelings.

Learn more


  1. Support emotional and behavioral self-control

Model positive behavior management skills, understand limits and provide support to help your child gain control over his or her behavior. Help your child explore emotions and provide ways to diffuse negative emotions.

  Learn more


For more on self-regulation during the early years:

Tools of the Mind

Through Everyday Experiences


Authored by:

Hall West

Early Childhood Education Professional