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School Readiness - Self-regulation

Is your child starting school in September?

The experience of having your baby starting school while exciting, may be daunting. A little preparation goes along way. Parents have many questions regarding helping your child born prematurely prepare for school. On these 4 part-blog series, early educator Ashleigh Judge will address some key issues.

Blog 1 - Self Regulation

By Ashleigh Judge

What is self-regulation?

Self-regulation involves the ability to stay calm and alert. Regulating one’s attention involves being able to remain alert, calm and focused on the task at hand despite potential distractions. Emotional self-regulation involves being able to bring one's self back to a calm state when frustrated, angry sad or excited

Why is self-regulation so important?

From school entry to post-secondary education and beyond, children must be able to listen when a teacher is speaking and complete tasks even when more desirable activities are nearby. For example, a kindergarten child will need to be able to sit at circle time and listen to their teacher and peers despite toys being placed around the classroom. Children must also be able to talk problems and conflicts out without using physical or verbal aggression.

How to promote the development of self-regulation

The development of self-regulation begins in early infancy and proceeds over several years. In infancy, a child is completely dependent on their primary caregiver to help them regulate their emotions. An adult who consistently responds to an infant’s distress in a nurturing way, helps the child trust others, explore their world and regulate their emotions. Throughout the toddler and preschool years adults continue to consistently meet children’s needs and help them identify and label their feelings. In the months leading up to school entry have your child practice following a daily routine, choosing activities and alternating between quiet and active periods throughout the day. Help your child to identify, label and talk through a variety of emotions. Be a good role model!


Ashleigh Judge is a Registered Early Childhood Educator in Ontario and holds an Early Childhood Resource Consultant Certificate. She has experience is providing early childhood development and parent/caregiver education programs in person and online. She also has experience in providing individual developmental support plans and strategies to young children and their families.

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