Developmental differences in young children's self-regulation

Antonia Zachariou, David Whitebread

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This paper explores self-regulatory development in young children. Research suggests developmental differences in the acquisition of self-regulation, which could inform self-regulatory training at different ages. Most of this research focuses on very young children's (younger than 5) or older children's (aged 9+) self-regulation during academic tasks. This paper takes an innovative approach and investigates self-regulatory development in children aged 6 and 8 years old, in a developmentally appropriate and natural context: musical play. The findings indicate a quantitative increase in regulatory behaviours with age. A significantly higher increase is reported in monitoring, planning, and emotional/motivational monitoring compared to other regulatory behaviours. Socially-shared regulation shows steeper development than self-regulation and co-regulation. Regulatory abilities initially have a domain-specific element but gradually become fully general. These results have significant educational implications: instruction and training of self- and socially-shared regulation skills should start before the age of 8, and tackle a diversity of tasks.

© 2019, Elsevier. The attached document (embargoed until 03/05/2021) is an author produced version of a paper published in JOURNAL OF APPLIED DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-293
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue numberMay–June 2019
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2019

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