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The Impact of Self-Regulation

When we are better able to manage our emotions—when our brains are not consumed with stress and anxiety—our brain is then open to thinking, problem-solving, listening, learning, and creating.

The Importance of Self-Regulation

Developing strong emotional and interpersonal skills from the start forms the basis for all learning. Although children are born ready to learn—equipped with emotion as their first language—the skills for controlling impulses, regulating emotions, and maintaining focus are not innate.

Positive emotional learning experiences strengthen neurological connections within the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s epicenter of executive function. When children are better able to manage intense emotions, including stress and anxiety, their brain’s resources are better able to perform important executive function skills such as listening, concentrating, and problem-solving—all essential for learning.

“Findings suggest that the earlier we can help children connect their emotions to their behaviors and thoughts, the more we can help them develop their own emotional, cognitive, and social capabilities; be empathic, and develop a strong and positive sense of self.”

        ~ Dr. Donna Housman, Founder and CEO

What is Emotion Regulation

Parents, educators, and caregivers are critical to fostering children’s emotional competencies, the early foundation of emotional intelligence, including:

  • Emotion knowledge: the ability to recognize and label emotions in oneself and others, and to specify appropriate causes of those emotions, and
  • Emotion regulation: the ability to handle the intensity of one’s emotions in productive ways by being able to monitor and modify emotions, when necessary, so that they aid rather than impede coping with challenging situations
Emotional competence forms the basis for self-regulation, which is a person’s ability to control and manage their own emotions, thoughts and behaviors.

The Impact of Self-Regulation on Learning

Children as young as preschoolers who develop skills of self-regulation are better able to listen, focus, comprehend, retain, problem-solve, and discuss complex concepts. Children with poor emotional competencies and lower self-regulation skills are at increased risk for low academic achievement, emotional and behavioral problems, peer rejection, and school dropout.

Housman Institute’s research has shown that children who have experienced the begin to ECSEL program outperformed their peers in key learning skills, executive function, and emotional competencies, including self-regulation and empathy.

When feelings are not managed or regulated well, thinking can be impaired; when the brain is dealing with unregulated emotion, it cannot learn.”

        ~ National Scientific Council on the Developing Child