Self-regulation Skills

Although self-regulation is a complex process, it is necessary to help children learn how to control their attention, thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. Normally, when children begin their pre-school life, they are exposed to new events and several experiences that are different from what they are used to at home. Parents have a responsibility to continuously model self-regulation skills in their children. For instance, during everyday activities, parents can use words and action that promote behavior regulation. Things such as talking in a calm voice, being supportive and winning the trust of the child help them develop self-regulation. As Cipriano & Stifter (2010) note, parents should always display positive behavior to assist children emulate the good behavior. Encouraging children when they do something good nurtures their self-esteem and helps promote their self-regulation skills.

Effortful Control

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Effortful control is the ability of the children to react to emotional, behavioral, and external stimuli (Cipriano & Stifter, 2010). The concept revolves around the capability of the child to voluntarily focus, maintain attention, and regulate their behaviors in an inhibitory control of action and activation control. Ideally, children differ in their effortful control ability. Parents can nurture a child’s effortful control by getting involved in their education. For instance, asking questions about the child’s day at school keeps them engaged and develops their ability to comply with parent’s requests.

Effortful Control Observed

An example of influences on the effortful control I have observed in my family is with my two nieces. Growing up, the elder girl has always allowed her sister to have the first bite of their snacks. Recently, the younger girl also started offering her sister to take the first bite in retaliation to her sister’s treatment.


Cipriano, E. A., & Stifter, C. A. (2010). Predicting preschool effortful control from toddler temperament and parenting behavior. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 31, 3, 221-230.

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