One of the hardest things to do as a parenting is helping your kids control themselves. As it turns out, self-regulation in kids may actually impact their language and literacy learning. New research from Michigan State University has connected these self-regulatory abilities in children with language and literacy development later in life—and the results are fascinating.

Self-regulation may seem like something that eludes your child. Your kiddo is in constant motion, won’t really listen to you or focuses on “me, me, me!” just about all the time. But that doesn’t mean your child completely lacks the ability to self-regulate. As a developmental skill, self-regulation includes a variety of different types of control, such as paying attention, focusing and retaining information. It also includes what most of us think of as “self-control,” or the ability control impulsive behavior.

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The recent study evaluated data from 351 children in preschool through second grade. The researchers assessed the children’s ability to self-regulate twice a year, giving them simple follow-me prompts (think “Simon Says”). Along with assessing self-regulatory abilities, the researchers also evaluated the children in terms of language and literacy development. Specifically, comprehension, early decoding, vocabulary and phonological awareness.

So what did the research reveal? As it turns out, the children who had better early self-regulation abilities also had higher language skills during the time period studied (through grade two). So what does this mean for your kiddo? Some children are natural self-regulators.

If your little one has been in control from early on, they may be in luck when it comes to literacy. If not, working on self-regulation may (this is a “may” and not a 100 percent “will”) help them to improve their language and literacy learning abilities. Either way, the ability to self-regulate is probably already a want/need/dream you have for your kiddo.

—Erica Loop

Featured photo: Kaboompics via Pexels


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