Self Regulation and Literacy

Children’s ability to self-regulate is a crucial component in the development of their language and literacy skills.

In young children, self-regulation refers to their ability to manage their thoughts and emotions in order to be calm and alert enough to pay attention to tasks, absorb new information and to inhibit behaviors that might interfere with accomplishing tasks.

Michigan State University researchers have found that children who demonstrate self-regulation at an earlier age have higher language and literacy skills throughout preschool to at least the second grade.  Specifically, those children showed earlier and higher development of decoding and reading comprehension and higher levels of vocabulary development.

Parents can help children develop better self-regulation by structuring their home environment to include adequate sleep, consistent routines, and time to focus on an activity without other background distractions. Make time for outdoor and active play. Play games that help your child learn to wait, follow rules and tolerate losing.  Some self-control games that help children practice those skills include: Red Light-Green Light, Simon Says, What time is it Mr. Fox? and Freeze Dance.

Teach your child strategies to help them calm down, such as using breathing, yoga or calm music.  Talk about  the emotions we all experience. A good way to discuss feelings with your child is by reading books like these  together.

To read the complete article on the MSU study, click here.  For more tips to help young children learn and practice skills for self-regulation, click here.