Calmness really isn’t enough

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I keep talking about the importance of teaching children about being calm and centered.  Being able to calm and center yourself is very important to being able to self-regulate but it’s not enough. Telling how fast or slow your ‘engine’ is running or what ‘zone’ you’re in is NOT all there is to self-regulation. Being able to recognize and respond to stress is not enough.

Children need to learn what calm feels like, what signals there are in their bodies that tell them of increasing stress or anxiety an then how to calm themselves. Those are excellent lifelong skills but they are just the very start to being self-regulated.

When you’re calm, you can make better choices. You can exercise more control over your executive functions. These are just a starting point.

Self-regulation involves conscious control of your executive functions – planning & organization, inhibitory control, working memory, self-monitoring, and cognitive flexibility. Self-regulation involves controlling and modulating what you do with your body and your brain and your emotions. It’s not just learning to be calm.

When people talk about self-regulation, make sure they don’t just focus on being calm. There’s so much more to learn in order to be a truly self-regulated learner.

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