What is Self-Regulation?


Self-regulation- a term used frequently by parents and teachers. My understanding of a well regulated person is someone who can monitor and control their behaviour, emotions and thoughts appropriately in response to their setting and the situation.

However, many factors can impact on our ability to self-regulate and on a very stressful day…it is definitely harder. And that is the same for your child. However for some children this area between regulated and unregulated can be very small and therefore fluctuating between these two states in quick succession can become the norm. They may not even understand what feeling regulated means??

You will definitely understand what I mean if you have a child with sensory processing difficulties. Situations that a person with a well regulated sensory system may see as trivial (e.g. pushing in the school line or a substitute teacher with a strange accent) , can be a major stressor for a child with sensory processing difficulties.

We must teach children about feeling regulated-what it means to ‘be calm’ and how are body/mind knows when we are relaxed and focused. And also about how to identify when we are unregulated- sweating palms, negative thinking, zoned out, hyper, difficulty listening to teacher…… the list is very long and individual to each child. And then, we must teach them ways of calming and focusing our body- this can be trial and error to find the strategies that work for your child and it will need constant adapting and revisiting.

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