Helping Students to Develop Self-regulation Skill

Self-regulation skill is a necessary skill for people of all ages. It is the learned ability that helps us control our actions and words to make good long-term decisions. It also helps us manage our emotions, both good and bad. Developing this skill can be difficult for adults and even more challenging for young children, who are not yet capable to make informed decisions.

There are huge benefits to helping young children develop self-regulation skills. This skill helps students to maintain lasting friendships, make informed choices, obey instructions, handle challenges, and so much more.

With self-regulation, students can also learn to live happier lives and spend more time learning and taking responsibility for their behaviors. Self-regulated students take increasing control over their thoughts, feelings, and actions–skills that are critical for success in school and life.

Four Areas For Self-regulation

While improvement plans can be made in any area, we suggest focusing on the following areas to help students self-regulate. 

Study skills: Everyone, no matter how committed or organized, can improve their study habits. Learning to take notes better, finding the most suitable space to read, developing ways to remember unfamiliar vocabulary words, creating a study timetable and following it, improving one’s writing skills, etc., are part of the areas a student needs to gain mastery as regards academics.

Social-emotional competency: Everyone, no matter how virtuous or socially and emotionally skilled, can be kinder, more responsible, more appreciative, empathic, and more solution-focused. As more and more schools adopt social and emotional learning competencies and character virtues, students will benefit from learning to improve in these aspects of their lives.

Physical health: Students can set goals around fitness, nutrition, and healthy habits. By learning self-management as a part of health education, students understand that improving their health is an ongoing responsibility, as is helping others become healthier.

Community service: Students are expected to be positive assets to their community. And to make them relevant in society, encourage them to participate in community projects. They also need to learn how to interact with members of the community.

Helping students to develop self-regulation skill
Helping students to develop self-regulation skill

5 Tips to help students develop self-regulation skill

  1. Practice self-control with games. Many different games help students work on their self-control skills. You can allow them play individually or divide them into smaller groups. An example is Guard Duty. This game is fun because students have to pretend they are guards at a palace and remain focused, even when someone tries to distract them. 
  2. Provide students with plenty of opportunities for making choices. Present a wide variety of options and allow them to choose while taking note of factors that influence their choice. This also gives them the practice they need to develop decision-making skills and gives them a sense of mastery over their life.
  3. Set reminders. To help students develop a strong sense of responsibility, set reminders for students about their routines and activities in the classroom. Practice, they say, makes perfect. When a child is constantly reminded about a task, he or she naturally gets acquainted with the routine. This also helps them learn how to follow up timetables and schedules, become time conscious and goal-driven.
  4. Incorporate self-reflection times. One of the easiest ways to help students develop self-regulation skills is by encouraging them to be more self-reflective. This involves assessing past behaviors and choices, as well as identifying the next steps for improvement. This can be a tough skill for young children to learn at first, especially because it can be difficult to admit where you went wrong. Self-reflection helps them evaluate themselves and monitor their growth. 
  5. Use real-life scenarios to teach self-regulation.

Classroom Activities/aids To Help Children Develop Self-regulation Skill

Here is a list of resources to implement in your classroom:

  • Relaxation Space

Set up an area within your classroom that students can escape to give themselves a personal break or handle their emotions when they are down. You can set up the area using rugs, bean bag chairs, pillows, or tents to create a calm space.

  • Classroom Yoga

Many students have a hard time sitting still during a lesson. Some students may even have a hard time transitioning from an exciting or high-level activity. But by implementing classroom yoga, you can help your kids relax, unwind, and calm down. Yoga also has many other benefits – increasing strength and flexibility and developing self-confidence, self-expression, and body awareness.

  • Brain Breaks

Brain breaks in the classroom involve specific activities to enhance students’ moods, attention, memory, cognitive function, and ability to cope with stress.  

  • Breathing Exercises

Encourage students to take deep breaths during classes. Deep breathing helps them gain control over emotions and anxiety and refreshes their brains. 


Although no one is perfect, there is always room for improvement. That is the essence of self-regulation; to help students become better humans. 


Helping Students to Develop Self-regulation Skill

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