Self-regulation is the ability to manage the stresses we face in our day to day life. It includes the ability to recognize those things that are causing us stress, have strategies to manage that stress and allow us to return to a calm and alert state. Self-regulation is NOT self-control. Dr. Stuart Shanker describes self-control as “the ability to inhibit impulses” while self'-regulation is “about identifying the causes and reducing the intensity of impulses”. Self-regulation is what makes self-control possible or even unnecessary.
Children rely on the significant adults in their life to help them achieve a state of regulation; we call this co-regulation and it is essential for the future development of self-regulation. When children struggle with regulation this may look like explosive behaviour, impulsivity, intense emotions or emotional lability, difficulty with sleep and difficulty forming secure attachments with peers and family members.
If you are looking for help in ways to support your child’s regulation, please contact Sprout