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Definition

Self-regulation is the ability to self-monitor and exercise control over one’s behaviour, thoughts and emotions and change them according to the demands of a situation. The cognitive elements of self-regulation are a range of skills known as executive function, while metacognition is considered to be responsible for the behavioural output of self-regulation. 

A child's learning comprehension is good example. The child needs to monitor whether they understood what they are reading, and use a range of strategies to improve their understanding, like reading a sentence again. This would be using their metacognition skills to think about their thinking. But in order to keep concentrating and keeping their mind from wandering, or to stop themselves from going off task, they need to use their executive function skills, like inhibitory control, working memory and cognitive flexibility.

Aureli, T. et al. (2015) Behavioral and facial thermal variations in 3-to 4-month-old infants during the Still-Face Paradigm (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Behavioral and facial thermal responses were recorded in twelve 3- to 4-month-old infants during the Still-Face Paradigm (SFP). As in the usual procedure, infants were observed in a three-step, face-to-face interaction: a normal interaction episode (3 min); the "still-face" episode in which the mother became unresponsive and assumed a neutral expression (1 min); a reunion episode in which the mother resumed the interaction (3 min). A fourth step that consisted of a toy play episode (5 min) was added for our own research interest. We coded the behavioral responses through the Infant and Caregiver Engagement Phases system, and recorded facial skin temperature via thermal infrared (IR) imaging. Comparing still-face episode to play episode, the infants' communicative engagement decreased, their engagement with the environment increased, and no differences emerged in self-regulatory and protest behaviors. We also found that facial skin temperature increased. For the behavioral results, infants recognized the interruption of the interactional reciprocity caused by the still-face presentation, without showing upset behaviors. According to autonomic results, the parasympathetic system was more active than the sympathetic, as usually happens in aroused but not distressed situations. With respect to the debate about the causal factor of the still-face effect, thermal data were consistent with behavioral data in showing this effect as related to the infants' expectations of the nature of the social interactions being violated. Moreover, as these are associated to the infants' subsequent interest in the environment, they indicate the thermal IR imaging as a reliable technique for the detection of physiological variations not only in the emotional system, as indicated by research to date, but also in the attention system. Using this technique for the first time during the SFP allowed us to record autonomic data in a more ecological manner than in previous studies.

Date:
January 2015
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
6
Page/s:
1586
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Exploratory play
  • Parent/Guardian play
  • Play with Mother
  • Self-regulation
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Barker, J. et al. (2014) Less-structured time in children's daily lives predicts self-directed executive functioning (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Executive functions in childhood predict important life outcomes. Thus, there is great interest in attempts to improve executive functions early in life. Many interventions are led by trained adults, including structured training activities in the lab, and less-structured activities implemented in schools. Such programs have yielded gains in children’s externally-driven executive functioning, where they are instructed on what goal-directed actions to carry out and when. However, it is less clear how children’s experiences relate to their development of self-directed executive functioning, where they must determine on their own what goal-directed actions to carry out and when. We hypothesized that time spent in less-structured activities would give children opportunities to practice self-directed executive functioning, and lead to benefits. To investigate this possibility, we collected information from parents about their 6-7 year-old children’s daily, annual, and typical schedules. We categorized children’s activities as “structured” or “less-structured” based on categorization schemes from prior studies on child leisure time use. We assessed children’s self-directed executive functioning using a well-established verbal fluency task, in which children generate members of a category and can decide on their own when to switch from one subcategory to another. The more time that children spent in less-structured activities, the better their self-directed executive functioning. The opposite was true of structured activities, which predicted poorer self-directed executive functioning. These relationships were robust (holding across increasingly strict classifications of structured and less-structured time) and specific (time use did not predict externally-driven executive functioning). We discuss implications, caveats, and ways in which potential interpretations can be distinguished in future work, to advance an understanding of this fundamental aspect of growing up.

Date:
January 2014
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
5
Page/s:
1-16
Synonyms:
  • Correlational
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Playful learning
  • Self-regulation
  • Executive function
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Barnett, W. et al. (2008) Educational effects of the Tools of the Mind curriculum: A randomized trial (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The effectiveness of the Tools of the Mind (Tools) curriculum in improving the education of 3- and 4-year-old children was evaluated by means of a randomized trial. The Tools curriculum, based on the work of Vygotsky, focuses on the development of self-regulation at the same time as teaching literacy and mathematics skills in a way that is socially mediated by peers and teachers and with a focus on play. The control group experienced an established district-created model described as a “balanced literacy curriculum with themes.” Teachers and students were randomly assigned to either treatment or control classrooms. Children (88 Tools and 122 control) were compared on social behavior, language, and literacy growth. The Tools curriculum was found to improve classroom quality and children's executive function as indicated by lower scores on a problem behavior scale. There were indications that Tools also improved children's language development, but these effects were smaller and did not reach conventional levels of statistical significance in multi-level models or after adjustments for multiple comparisons. Our findings indicate that a developmentally appropriate curriculum with a strong emphasis on play can enhance learning and development so as to improve both the social and academic success of young children. Moreover, it is suggested that to the extent child care commonly increases behavior problems this outcome may be reversed through the use of more appropriate curricula that actually enhance self-regulation.

Date:
January 2008
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
23
Page/s:
299-313
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Language
  • Learning
  • Literacy
  • Pretend play
  • Self-regulation
Relevant age group/s:

Basilio, M. (2016) Children's playfulness, self-regulation and collaborative skills in group story telling (Video Recording)

Abstract:

Part of the seminar on the relationships between dialogue and children’s self regulation, July 2016

Author/s:
Date:
January 2016
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Creativity
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Literacy
  • Pretend play
  • Self-regulation
  • Social play
  • Construction play
Relevant age group/s:

Bernier, A. et al. (2010) From External Regulation to Self-Regulation: Early Parenting Precursors of Young Children’s Executive Functioning (Journal Article)

Abstract:

In keeping with proposals emphasizing the role of early experience in infant brain development, this study investigated the prospective links between quality of parent–infant interactions and subsequent child executive functioning (EF), including working memory, impulse control, and set shifting. Maternal sensitivity, mind-mindedness and autonomy support were assessed when children were 12 to 15 months old (N = 80). Child EF was assessed at 18 and 26 months. All three parenting dimensions were found to relate to child EF. Autonomy support was the strongest predictor of EF at each age, independent of general cognitive ability and maternal education. These findings add to previous results on child stress-response systems in suggesting that parent–child relationships may play an important role in children’s developing self-regulatory capacities.

Date:
January 2010
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
81
Page/s:
326-339
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Longitudinal
  • Parent/Guardian play
  • Play with other adult
  • Self-regulation
  • Executive function
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Blair, C. (2002) Early intervention for low birth weight, preterm infants: The role of negative emotionality in the specification of effects (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This study examined the relation of negative emotionality in infancy to child social and cognitive developmental outcomes among low birth weight (LBW) preterm infants participating in the Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP), a comprehensive compensatory education intervention beginning in infancy and lasting through age 3 years. In this analysis, intervention effects at age 36 months on maternal report of child behavior as assessed by the Child Behavior Checklist externalizing and internalizing scales and on intelligence as measured by the Stanford–Binet scale were largest among children characterized by higher levels of negative emotionality in infancy. Findings indicate that for LBW preterm infants characterized by negative emotionality at age 12 months the intervention was associated with a twofold decrease in the occurrence of clinically meaningful levels of behavior problems at age 3 years and a fourfold decrease in the occurrence of a high-risk profile in which both internalizing and externalizing scores are in the clinically meaningful range. The intervention was also associated with a fivefold decrease in the occurrence of IQ ≤ 75 at age 3 years among children with higher levels of negative emotionality and heavier LBW (2001–2500 g). However, specific aspects of temperamental difficulty such as fearfulness and anger were related to internalizing and externalizing, respectively, in both the intervention and control groups. Findings are consistent with research linking negative emotionality in infancy with social and cognitive developmental outcomes in early childhood among normal birth weight infants. Results suggest the need for further attention to child temperament in early intervention research.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2002
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
14
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Affective behaviour
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Mental health
  • Physical health
  • Self-regulation
  • Social-emotional
  • Well-being outcomes
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Bodrova, E. et al. (2007) Tools of the Mind: The Vygotskian Approach to Early Childhood Education (Book)

Abstract:

As the only text of its kind, this book provides in-depth information about Vygotsky's theories, neo-Vygotskians' findings, and concrete explanations and strategies that instruct teachers how to influence student learning and development.  Key changes to this edition include a new chapter on dynamic assessment, separate and expanded chapters on developmental accomplishments of infants and toddlers, preschool/kindergarten, and primary grades and on supporting those accomplishments, and elaborations of Vygotsky's ideas from neo-Vygotskians from Russia.   FEATURES:   Written for the beginning student, the book provides a clear discussion of Vygotskian principles including...a historical overview and a complete chapter on the "Zone of Proximal Development," (ZPD). Each section of the book builds on the other...framework, strategies, and applications of the Vygotskian approach. The work of Vygotsky is compared in a fair and balanced way with the work of Piaget. Examples and activities have been class-tested in a variety of classroom environments including a Head Start program, private preschool, and in the Denver Public Schools.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2007
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Self-regulation
  • Executive function
Tags:

Bodrova, E. et al. (2013) Play and Self-Regulation: Lessons from Vygotsky (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The authors consider the analysis of the literature on play research by Lillard and others in the January 2013 "Psychological Bulletin," an analysis that questioned the prevailing assumption of a causal relationship between play and child development, especially in the areas of creativity, reasoning, executive function, and regulation of emotions. The authors regard these connections as critical for teachers in early-childhood classrooms and for other advocates of child play. They claim that the conclusions of Lillard and her coauthors place these professionals in a difficult position because they already face sharp pressure to replace play with academic activities. The authors suggest that the difficulty researchers have in linking play to development partly results from a failure to account for both cognitive and noncognitive developments across a complex trajectory. To help see the problem more clearly, they argue for a return to the Vygotskian and post-Vygotskian theories that differentiate between immature and mature play. The authors then describe their creation, an observational tool based on such theories, that helps researchers and practitioners judge the quality of pretend play.

Date:
January 2013
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
6
Page/s:
111-123
Synonyms:
  • Creativity
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Literature review
  • Metacognition
  • Pretend play
  • Self-regulation
  • Executive function
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Cavanaugh, D. et al. (1-01) Kindergarten Scores, Storytelling, Executive Function, and Motivation Improved through Literacy-Rich Guided Play (Journal Article)

Cole, M. et al. (1978) The Role of Play in Development (Book Section)

Abstract:

The great Russian psychologist L. S. Vygotsky has long been recognized as a pioneer in developmental psychology. But his theory of development has never been well understood in the West. Mind in Society corrects much of this misunderstanding. Carefully edited by a group of outstanding Vygotsky scholars, the book presents a unique selection of Vygotsky's important essays.

Date:
January 1978
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
92-104
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Learning
  • Peers play
  • Pretend play
  • Self-regulation
  • Social play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline: