How Self-Regulation Can Help Your Child Succeed
In Montessori education, we strongly believe that emotional development is just as important as academic success. In fact, we often find that the key to academic success and success in life is having the emotional tools and knowledge to make good decisions.
In a Montessori education, children’s progress is monitored and documented on a daily basis. Intangible aspects of their development, such as integrity, optimism and enthusiasm are also documented.
A child’s ability to self-regulate is one of the biggest indicators of their success in life.
What Is Self-Regulation?
Self-regulation is a combination of emotional, cognitive and social regulation. On the emotional side, it means having the ability to bring emotions under control and calm down when feeling angry or frustrated. Cognitively, it refers to the ability to problem-solve, especially in tough situations. Socially, self-regulation involves being able to filter what we say and stop ourselves from saying the first thing that pops into our heads.
Why Is Self-Regulation Important?
Having self-regulation can help your child in a number of ways, including the ability to:
- Sit and listen in a classroom, leading to academic success.
- Control impulses and behave in socially acceptable ways.
- Express emotions appropriately, share toys, take turns and build friendships.
- Become more independent, make their own decisions and behave in new situations.
- Manage stress, cope with strong feelings and calm down when angry.
While self-regulation is a great skill to begin teaching early, it takes time to develop and will continue to develop into adulthood.
How Can I Teach Self-Regulation?
The easiest way to teach self-regulation is to model it in your own actions. Taking a breath, pausing to centre yourself and thinking before you act are all great ways to show your children by example.
However, there are few other key things you can do to help your children develop self-regulation:
- Kneel down occasionally when speaking to them, especially when they seem overwhelmed. Standing over them can make the feeling of being overwhelmed more intense.
- Show empathy toward your children and their feelings. If your children feel understood, they will be better able to identify their feelings and regulate them.
- Match your child’s emotional tone with your own voice. This is another great way to help your child feel understood.
- Give your child time to work through their emotions. Stay open and loving, and wait for them to move on with their emotions in their own time.
- Give your child room to play and allow them time to make their own choices about how they spend their time. Children should have two to three hours of unstructured time every day.
A Montessori education is about much more than academics. Learn more about Montessori education and if it might be right for your child.