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Staying on Track Using Self Regulation Skills

Staying on Track Using Self Regulation Skills

An observation we have made as counselors during this remote learning period is that students find it difficult to stay motivated with ongoing tasks. This is not an issue faced only by students, most working professionals find this an issue with the virtual environment. Self-regulation is the ability to manage your emotions and behavior in accordance with the demands of the situation. It includes being able to resist highly emotional reactions to upsetting events, to calm yourself down when you get upset, to adjust to a change in expectations, and to handle frustration without an outburst.

It is useful to look at self-regulation as a skill that can be taught or developed to nurture resilience. In the absence of physical school routines that allow kids to learn from watching peers and teachers, they will need extra help to build up the self-regulatory skills needed to prepare themselves for success physically and emotionally.

Building time awareness: Becoming aware of the passage of time especially without the external assists of bells or seeing peers move between classes is tough for children when they’re learning from home. Having them use digital calendars, printed schedules and alerts for class times, will be helpful to keep them alert. For these strategies to stick, it is important that children take initiative while caregivers encourage and validate it.

Avoiding distractions: Technology that helps children stay in touch and socialize could also become a distraction. Not all children have the self-regulation skills to pay attention and avoid distractions. To help children gain awareness and see how multitasking could negatively impact their learning, help them assess and compare their own retention of information while multitasking versus giving attention to one task at a time.

Making space for self-advocacy: In school children have the ability to find and make use of resources to support themselves. This can get diluted in the online environment, and therefore setting conditions for self-advocacy by allowing time and space for children to ask questions and make sure their voices are heard. Telling children about instances when you struggled and asked for help makes them confident.

It cannot be mentioned enough that factors such as isolation, difficulties at home, or pandemic-related anxiety can make it more important to stay connected or reach out for help. Giving time for meaningful and relaxing activities and staying in touch with those close to you can help you engage and practice self-regulation. Here is a  resource for you to explore more on this topic.