By Deborah Williams
Parents and teachers of young children might be able to improve those children’s chances for academic success by teaching self-regulation skills to them. That is what new research suggests. The study’s researchers, Claire Cameron Ponitz from the University of Virginia and Megan McClelland from Oregon State University, found that kindergarteners with high levels of self-regulation at the beginning of the school year performed better on reading, vocabulary, and math tests near the end of the year than did those children with low levels of self-regulation.
Self-regulation, the “ability to control and direct one’s own feelings, thoughts, and actions,” can be improved with interventions from teachers and parents. These children need organization, consistency, and structure. It requires the adults to follow through with rules so that children have the chance to practice controlling themselves.
Additionally, the researchers suggests that certain classic games that require children to follow directions and wait to take turns can help children to self-regulate:
- Red Light, Green Light
- Simon Says (Science Daily also reports on the effectiveness of this game in helping children in different countries to improve academically.)
- Hide and Seek
- Role Playing