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Self-regulation snap shot #4: A focus on middle-school aged youth

Date Added to Library: 
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 13:26
Organizational Author: 
Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation
Individual Author: 
Murray, D.W.
Rosanbalm, K.
Reference Type: 
Published Date: 
Published Date (Date): 
Wednesday, April 4, 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.” (author introduction)


This snapshot summarizes key concepts about self-regulation development and intervention for middle-school aged youth 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). 


Self-regulation skills developing in middle- school aged children:

  • Completing longer and more complex tasks
  • Self-monitoring
  • Planning, prioritization, and time management to achieve goals
  • Using strategies to manage stress
  • Using health-promoting strategies to calm down when distressed
  • Considering consequences before acting
  • Making effective decisions “in the moment”
  • Solving more complex problems independently
  • Goals, behavior, and decision-making guided by empathy and concern for others

Key considerations for promoting self-regulation in middle-school aged youth:

  • 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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