TitleSelf-Regulation in Early Childhood: Improving Conceptual Clarity and Developing Ecologically Valid Measures
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsMcClelland, MM, Cameron, CE
JournalChild Development Perspectives
Pagination136 - 142
Date Published06/2011

Children’s ability to direct their attention and behavior to learning tasks provides a foundation for healthy social and academic development in early schooling. Although an explosion of research on this topic has occurred in recent years, the field has been hindered by a lack of conceptual clarity, as well as debate over underlying components and their significance in predicting school success. In addition, few measures tap these skills as children move into formal schooling. This article describes the aspects of self-regulation that are most important for early school success. It then discusses methodological challenges in reliably and validly assessing these skills in young children and describes recent advances in direct measures of self-regulation that are reliable and ecologically valid and that predict children’s school success. It concludes by summarizing critical issues in the study of self-regulation in school contexts and discussing next steps.