Parental and Educator Perspectives on Young Children’s Acquisition of Self-Regulatory Skills

  • Wanda Boyer
Part of the Educating the Young Child book series (EDYC, volume 1)

The principal goal of this study was to understand how preschool children of ages four to five years acquire self-regulation. This study aimed to understand the essence of the experience for parents and educators of developmentally guiding children toward autonomous and socially competent self-regulating behaviors. Using a phenomenological research design to analyze multiple data sources including 200 pages of interview and focus group transcriptions from 12 parents and three educators, this study found: (1) there is a developmental trajectory for the acquisition of self-regulatory skills for children as well as their parents and educators, (2) synchronous adult-child affect has significant impact on a child’s ability to self-regulate, (3) parents and educators clearly articulated child centered and developmentally appropriate guidelines for nurturing self-regulation in preschool children, but they were surprised by the sophistication, duration, and reciprocity of growth that occurs in the acquisition of self-regulation of four and five year olds. The implications have a resounding influence on the future of education and include examining the development of self-regulatory skills for both the preschoolers, and parents/educators and how more synchronous adult-child affect can promote each child’s optimal readiness to learn.


self-regulation emotion regulation emotions social competence moral reasoning early childhood families parents teachers early childhood educators child development behaviour routines preschool preservice teachers qualitative research interviews 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wanda Boyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership StudiesUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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