Metacognition and Learning

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 315–326 | Cite as

How do parents guide children towards ‘playing to learn’? Reflections on four studies in a special issue on self- and co-regulation in early childhood

  • Claire HughesEmail author


This special issue on early self- and co-regulation addresses a topic that is founded on a rich mix of theoretical perspectives, including self-determination theory, socio-cultural theory, attachment theory and artificial intelligence. Reflecting this diversity, the papers adopt a diverse range of approaches to cutting-edge questions regarding self- and co-regulation. At the same time, the papers share a number of common themes, of which the first is a downwards expansion of the developmental scope of existing research on children’s ability to delay gratification to encompass findings from infants and toddlers. A second common theme is a careful attention to issues of ecological validity. Alongside these commonalities, the papers also show complementarity in their focus on the parent or the child. In this commentary I seek to identify both common and specific strengths and limitations and offer suggestions regarding fruitful avenues for future research in this field.


Scaffolding Autonomy support Beliefs and cognitions Self-regulation Children Parents 



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Family ResearchUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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