Self-regulation: the greatest gift we can give to children

Where a child repeatedly experiences hostile responses from their primary caregivers, where they are not given the time, space and words to label and talk through their feelings, they consequently communicate their feelings of fear, anxiety, embarrassment and frustration in ways which do them more harm than good.

This is where aggressive and defensive behaviour manifests because the child does not know how to operate from their upstairs, rational brain, and instead operates from their downstairs, reactive brain.

This results in the child failing to thrive emotionally, socially, cognitively and academically. Not just in childhood but with serious implications throughout their life trajectory. Co-regulating these uncomfortable and overwhelming emotions from the beginning, can give the child a healthy and robust foundation from which to navigate their way through life.

What does this mean in practice?

Children who experience nurturing and stable care-giving, go on to develop greater resilience and the ability to self-regulate uncomfortable and overwhelming emotions.

This means that Early Years Practitioners have an absolutely crucial role establishing Self-regulation through their pivotal role as co-regulators; this is now recognised by its inclusion in the EYFS from September 2021, albeit in a rather token manner.

Self-regulation in the EYFS

The problem for EYFS Practitioners has been accessing properly researched neuroscience based training and resources to help them build their skill as co-regulators and establish Self-regulation in the children they care for.

For a number of years now Dr Mine Conkbayir has been a passionate advocate of Self-regulation, and building on years of research and training pedagogy has put together a range of tools to help you do this.

Tune in to my interview with Andy Burt at Early Excellence Ltd, concerning all things early years and self-regulation!

Self Reg: Get Set GO!
Your one-stop-shop for embedding self-regulation in your policies and practice

This is a one-stop-shop resource kit written by Dr Mine Conkbayir and Ursula Krystek-Walton of Thrive Childcare Group for all Early Years (EY) practitioners who want to prioritise the emotional wellbeing of children and staff in their setting.

It comprises of three sections (Education and Awareness, Practice and Environments), each containing an introductory video, downloadable templates, case studies of success stories, Power Point presentations and accompanying lesson plans and a toolkit of resources for practitioners to use with their teams.

Once practitioners have worked their way through the three sections, they will be ready to leave behind behaviour management approaches and instead, be guided by self-regulation (SR) policies and practice.

Self-regulation in Early Years: what you need to know about achieving a child-centred approach.

This multi award-winning self-directed online learning programme gives you the basics of SR, what it means, what it looks like – what it is not, and how best to nurture this essential, life-enhancing skill from the beginning.

This programme adds value to what the government has offered and is an essential bedrock to implementing the government’s Goals in an informed way.

This programme provides a wonderful introduction to self-regulation, explaining it in an informed, critical and practical way, encouraging practitioners to reflect critically on what is known about self-regulation and its direct implications for daily practice. It will provide invaluable support to practitioners who are trying to work with the new Early Learning Goals (ELGs) and ensure they are interpreted appropriately, taking account of the child as an individual being.

Dr Chris Pascal
Self-regulation in Early Years
Nursery World Equipment and Resources Awards 2019 Silver Medal
Teach Early Years Awards 2019

Self-Regulation Events and Webinars

Mine is passionate about getting to Self-regulation message out to as many people as possible, and as part of this mission she presents regular events and webinars on this and related topics.

These always include highly respected guest speakers; recent events have featured Dr Janet Rose, Stu Evans, Julie Harmison, Charlotte Davies, Sharon Skade, the inspirational Lemn Sissay and of course Mine herself.