The Development of Self-Regulation and Exectutive Function in Young Children

Our staff at Bluebird Day Care are aware of how executive function helps children learn to consciously and effectively manage their behavior so that they can work and play well with other children.

What is Self –Regulation?

Self –Regulation is often defined as the conscious control of thoughts, feeling, and behaviors. In other words, it is the ability to think and to plan before acting. At the heart of self-regulation is a set of skills called executive function. Executive function includes three cognitive components Our Preschoolers are encouraged and coached on effective sharing and caring for others and themselves.

  1. Attention or cognitive flexibility- refers to the ability to focus and pay attention to a task, to ignore distractions and to switch attention to another task when needed.
  2. Working memory- refers to the ability to hold and process information mentally. Young children are continually expected to use their working memory to remember rules and instructions and to follow directions.
  3. Inhibitory control- refers to having the ability to stop an impulse and to choose another response.

Why is Self-Regulation Important?

Our staff at Bluebird day care promotes academic success and physical and emotional health. A number of studies have found that self-regulation predicts both short and long academic success from preschool through college. We understand and recognize our important role as teachers, mentors and coaches to provide children with opportunities to develop strong self-regulation, including positive parenting practices and approaches that promote critical thinking in children.

How does Self-Regulation Develop in Early Childhood?

Self-regulations begin to develop from birth when our staff at Bluebird provide regulation for a child by rocking, feeding, or diapering in response to the child’s cues. During infancy, young children learn to self-soothe and comfort themselves when upset. Self- soothing acts are the beginning signs of self-regulation. Our dedicated staff recognize and understand that babies vary in their abilities to self-regulate, and this is linked to temperament.

During the early childhood years around 2-3 years old and with the help of parents and staff, self-regulation begins to be internally regulated. During this time, toddlers begin to comply with parents and providers requests, instructions, and information provided to them.

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work and assist young children as they grow and play in a safe and loving environment .