Child & Youth Care Forum

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 243–259 | Cite as

Child Routines and Self-Regulation Serially Mediate Parenting Practices and Externalizing Problems in Preschool Children

  • Lovina Rose BaterEmail author
  • Sara Sytsma Jordan
Original Paper



Studies clearly indicate that parenting practices relate to child externalizing behaviors, although the mechanisms underlying this relation are less well understood. There has been limited evaluation of child routines and self-regulation in relation to these variables, and no known studies have evaluated all of these variables simultaneously.


This study examined child routines and self-regulation as serial mediators of the relations between positive and negative parenting practices (separately) and child externalizing problems among preschool children.


Participants included 146 maternal caregivers of preschool children who completed measures of their parenting practices and of their child’s daily routines, self-regulation, and externalizing behaviors.


Results demonstrated that both child routines and self-regulation are significant mechanisms through which negative and positive parenting practices relate to externalizing problems in preschoolers, although the temporal sequencing was only upheld with respect to negative parenting. Our findings offer preliminary evidence that child routines may play a critical role in self-regulation development among preschool children, which, in turn, is inversely associated with externalizing behaviors.


Although further study is needed, these findings suggest that child routines and self-regulation development may be key components to incorporate clinically and evaluate empirically among intervention programs designed to prevent early development of behavior problems in preschool children.


Parenting practices Child routines Self-regulation Externalizing behaviors Preschool 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Human and Animal Rights

The article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Southern MississippiHattiesburgUSA

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