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Self-regulation snap shot #3: A focus on elementary-aged children

Date Added to Library: 
Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 11:21
Individual Author: 
Murray, D.W.
Rosanbalm, K.
Reference Type: 
Place Published: 
Washington, D.C.
Published Date: 
Published Date (Date): 
Monday, April 2, 2018
OPRE Report
Issue Number: 


Adult caregivers such as parents, teachers, coaches, and other mentors play a critical role in shaping and supporting self-regulation development from birth through young adulthood through an interactive process called “co-regulation.”


This snapshot summarizes key concepts about self-regulation development and intervention for elementary-aged children for practitioners and educators interested in promoting self-regulation for this age group. It is based on a series of four reports on Self-Regulation and Toxic Stress prepared for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). Visit the Toxic Stress and Self-Regulation Reports page for more information.


Self-regulation skills developing in elementary-aged children:

  • Use of self-talk to control behavior
  • Cognitive flexibility/problem-solving
  • Attentional control/sustained focus Increased delay of gratification
  • Managing emotion “in the moment”
  • Goals and behavior guided by empathy and concern for others
  • Organization of behavior to achieve goals
  • Completion of larger and more complex tasks

Key considerations for promoting self-regulation in elementary-aged children:

  • Encourage a positive school climate for all students
  • Deliver self-regulation skills training in at-risk schools
  • Train teachers and afterschool staff to teach, model, reinforce, and coach self-regulation skills Identify ways to support school and program staff’s own self-regulation capacity
  • Provide parent education supports that address co-regulation (Author introduction)
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