First Advisor

Cathleen Smith

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Routine, Self-regulation, Structure, Early childhood education -- Study and teaching -- Social aspects, Self-control in children -- Study and teaching (Early childhood) -- Psychological aspects, Social skills -- Study and teaching (Early childhood) -- Psychological aspects, Constructivism (Education)



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 146 p.) : ill.


Learning to self-regulate one's behavior is a core developmental task in early childhood. Regulation of behavior is a challenge for young children largely due to cognitive constraints, specifically in the areas of attention and memory. As such, it has been theorized that both caregivers and a child's environment can support the development of behavioral self-regulation by providing cues as to what constitutes acceptable behavior in any given context. Although much research has been conducted on the role caregivers play in this regard, little is known about how a child's environment may also serve to support emerging self-regulation of behavior. The present study sought to identify differences among children's daily activities in terms of their degree of structure and routine and how they related to changes in patterns of self-regulated behavior over time. Twenty-one children ages 6 to 60 months in three age-graded classrooms at a constructivist child-care center were video-taped at three measurement points over a six-month period as they engaged in a variety of daily activities (i.e., free play, meals and clean-up). Trained observers coded for nine self-regulatory behaviors and the daily activities during which they occurred. It was hypothesized that structured and routine daily activities would scaffold the development of self-regulation and internalization such that these behaviors would occur more frequently during activities high in structure and routine. Over time, practice during activities that are high and low in structure and routine should support self-regulated behavior in the absence of structure and routine as well. Overall, results demonstrated that in the presence of environmental cues for expected behavior (i.e., structure and routine) children tend to engage in more self-regulated behavior than in the absence of such cues.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Psychology

Persistent Identifier