Self-regulation: the five domains (2023)

VonStuart Shanker|January 23, 2018|self-registration blog|0 comments

(Video) The Biological Domain | Self Regulation Institute with Dr. Stuart Shanker

Self-regulation: the five domains (1)

Marco Das Shanker Self-Reg® for self-regulation: the five domains

  • Self-regulation refers to the way a person deals with stress in all its forms and then recovers from expended energy.
  • A person (child or adult) who is exposed to a lot of stress in the early years can develop a "triggered alarm system." This can mean that even relatively minor stressors can send them into a fight or flight or paralysis situation.
  • A child who is chronicunder or over excitedas a result of excessive stress it enters more easilyFight or flight or freeze.
  • Self-regulation helps us look at self-regulation and stress in five interrelated domains: biological, emotional, cognitive, social, and prosocial.
  • Shanker Self-Reg® is a powerful way to understand stress and manage energy flow. Self-Reg is not a program, but a practical paradigm through which parents and teachers can better understand children's stress and improve self-regulation.five domains.

The Shanker-Method® is a five-step method to improve self-regulation in children, adolescents, youth and adults:

1. Read the signs of stress and readjust behavior
2. Recognize stressors
3. Reduce stress
4. Reflect: Increase Stress Awareness
5. Restore power

(Video) The 5 Domains of Stress

the biological domain

Self-regulation: the five domains (2)
  • A child's brain development has far-reaching implications for the early years and its impact on mental and physical health in the long term.
  • By being regulated, the child develops the ability to self-regulate. Being regulated does not mean being managed.
  • early childhood educatorsYou can learn to recognize a child's arousal states and regulate up and down his behavior to maintain optimal regulation.
  • There are four neural mechanisms for coping with stress: (1) social engagement; (2) fight or flight (3) freezing and (4) dissociation. The brain uses the "hierarchy" to respond to threats. If one proves inadequate to deal with the current stress, the brain switches to the next. Social commitment is the goal.
  • A child becomes chronically under or over excited when their central stress management system is overloaded and they lose their ability to recover.
  • A chronically under- or over-excited child has difficulty staying focused and alert, which is the ideal state for learning.
  • Chronically marginalized, hyperactive and/or aggressive children are not in some way “weak” or act intentionally. They experience too much stress to handle social engagement or their cognitive processes.
  • We not only need to “reshape” children's behavior, but also their parenting style. Self-Reg was designed to do just that.

The domain of emotion

  • Many children, especially younger ones, find it very difficult to "control, assess, and modify" their emotions.
  • Using "left brain processes" like language and executive functions to regulate a child's emotions will not be effective if the child's left brain is "offline" because all that adrenaline is pumped out in the hyperarousal state.
  • The more overwhelmed (overexcited) the child is, the less ability he has to "control, evaluate, and modify" his emotions.
  • When a child is in a flooded state, parents and educators should help the child calm down, not try to force him to monitor, evaluate, and change his feelings.
  • Children experience intense emotional reactions that can come on suddenly and feel catastrophic – all or nothing.
  • It can be overwhelming for parents andearly childhood educatorswhen they fail to help a child calm down or cheer up.
  • Sometimes a child becomes so overexcited or angry that nothing he says or does seems to help. This doesn't happen because a child's "brake mechanism" is broken, much less because she's "not trying hard enough," but because he's so excited that he can't hear what we're saying or doing.
  • parents andearly childhood educatorsi need to calm down

The cognitive domain

Roots of attention in the cognitive domain

  • Cognition refers to all the mental processes involved in acquiring knowledge: things like attention, perception, memory, and problem solving.
  • In this area, Self-Reg deals with the cognitive base of these processes: the so-called roots of attention.
  • Attention affects both the body and the mind; The roots of the child's attention span can be strengthened.
  • Sustained concentration imposes a high energy burden and cost on the child's autonomic nervous system.
  • A child who is uncomfortable in a learning situation for whatever reason needs to concentrate more than a calm and alert child.
  • Self-regulation problems in any of the other areas can seriously limit a child's ability to focus on a task.
  • For some children, simply trying to sit still or suppress an impulse requires an enormous amount of energy, and they may not have enough left over to sustain attention.
  • When we work on the roots of attention problems, we look at things like a child's ability to register and integrate different types of sensory information.
  • Many children need our help to gradually reach the point where they can work calmly, with concentration and calmly independently.
  • Many attention problems stem from sensory processing issues (auditory, visual, etc.) that can be subtle and easily overlooked.
  • When a child has a processing problem, their inability to pay attention and focus is never due to a lack of motivation, but over time, a lack of motivation can develop.

The cognitive domain: supporting self-regulation in all five domains

  • Various playful techniques can help us address the roots of attention; Above all, it can help us work on the child's self-regulation.
  • A child's distractibility, impulsiveness, inability to listen, low frustration tolerance, and other challenging behaviors are the result of overarousal.
  • The more stressed you become, the less able you are to focus on what you see or feel and anticipate what will happen next, increasing your stress and further distracting you.
  • Closing off and concentrating are ways to block stress.
  • Auto-Reg allows us to break the "arousal cycle" by keeping a child's stress level in a manageable range so we can teach him to deal with it himself.
  • The better the child learns to recognize and reduce distracting stressors, the better he or she will recognize patterns in what used to be "growing and vibrant confusion."

To social area

  • The problems in the social domain lie in the arousal generated by the system that serves as the child's first line of defense in coping with stress: the social engagement system.
  • Forcing a child to work harder socially can make him even more tense and insecure in social situations.
  • What we need to understand is what we can do to improve connection skills in children who find social interaction stressful.
  • As a fight-or-flight response to social situations takes hold, the child avoids what he or she needs most when scared or frightened: the comforting presence of a caregiver or other children.
  • When we go into fight or flight mode, it's about turning inward: the brain has become the so-called "survival brain."
  • It is extremely difficult for children to communicate with words when they feel this way.
  • In fight or flight mode, even the most innocuous social acts can be interpreted as a threat. These types of distortions are a sign that the child has entered a low energy/high voltage state. The child's immediate need must be met and caregivers must restore the child's sense of safety.
  • “Threats” come in all shapes and sizes. Some threats are very easy to define. Sometimes the threat is simply a look, vocalization, gesture, movement, or alternatively, the absence of a look, vocalization, gesture, movement.
  • When a child feels threatened, they may experience sympathetic (anger and aggression, flight or abandonment) or parasympathetic (withdrawal, paralysis) tides.
  • A child feels overwhelmed by situations that are beyond his or her social skills and is likely to react aggressively or withdraw from such situations.
  • The problem for this child may be that he cannot "read" other children's feelings on their faces or has difficulty understanding the twists and turns in conversations. They don't understand why what they said or did caused a fearful or angry reaction on the face of the child they were dealing with. Everyone in the group seems to be on the same page, except for her; everyone laughs at the joke except her.
  • Children with social problems need to learn how to handle themselves in social situations because, first of all, they need to learn what they can do to feel safe.
  • Nature's mechanism for socialization in theearly yearsand play

The prosocial domain

  • The takeaway from self-regulation is that we are born with a brain that expects social engagement.
  • Antisocial behavior in a child is not the norm.
  • Clearly, there are biological mechanisms that lead to antisocial behavior under the wrong circumstances.
  • Equally clear, there are biological mechanisms that lead to prosocial behavior under the right circumstances.
  • Instead of asking how to get a child to behave prosocially, we ask through the lens of self-regulation: what drives a child down an antisocial path?
  • The answer lies in stress overload: fighting or fighting shuts down digestion, cellular repair, the immune system, and the PFC systems that serve to read minds and communicate.
  • Stress overload shuts down the very systems that allow us to experience "cognitive empathy": not just be affected by it, but be aware of what another person is feeling.
  • When social engagement fails, the old systems run the show: systems that predate the social brain and rely on attack or flight to deal with threats.
  • Some children are born vulnerable to limbic arousal or have had experiences that activate the limbic system. When the limbic system is overexcited, impulses increase while social awareness and self-awareness decrease. The child cannot share, empathize or communicate. Waking up the other is so stressful that it causes fight, flight or freeze.
  • What is decisive in these situations is how we react to the child's fear, which can be expressed in the form of aggression.
  • Blaming a child for their lack of empathy, yelling when a child needs reassurance, climbing when the child needs control can make the situation worse. Instead, we need to self-regulate, both in ourselves and in the child.
  • Early childhood centers and schools offer us the perfect opportunity to not only explain this behavior, but also model it for parents.

Know more

Contact the MEHRIT Center at or visit for more information.

(Video) The Emotion Domain | Self Regulation Institute with Dr. Stuart Shanker

Dr. Stuart Shanker is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Psychology at York University. He is the founder and visionary of The MEHRIT Centre, Ltd. Stuart has worked as an early childhood development consultant for government organizations in Canada and the United States. He consulted and blogged in countries around the world.psychology today.

(Video) SRI The 5 Domains of Stress

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(Video) The 5 Domains of Emotional Intelligence | McAllen ISD


What are the 5 domains of self-regulation? ›

Shanker states that behaviour can be viewed as a reaction to stressors which occur in 5 domains:
  • Biological.
  • Emotional.
  • Cognitive.
  • Social.
  • Pro-Social.

What is self-regulation examples? ›

What Is Self-Regulation in Psychology? In psychology, self-regulation has come to mean regulation by the self, not just of the self. For example, we actively regulate or control whether or not we go to the gym, eat a piece of cake, or have a positive attitude.

What are the types of self-regulation? ›

Four major types of self-regulation strategies are:
  • Self-monitoring (also called self-assessment or self-recording)
  • Self-instruction (also called self-talk)
  • Goal-setting.
  • Self-reinforcement.

What is self-regulation in early childhood development? ›

Self-regulation is the ability to understand and manage your own behaviour and reactions. Self-regulation helps children and teenagers learn, behave well, get along with others and become independent. Self-regulation begins to develop rapidly in the toddler and preschooler years. It continues to develop into adulthood.

What is the 5 domain? ›

The five domains were: (1) nutrition, (2) environment, (3) health, (4) behaviour and (5) mental state.

What are the 5 domains of development and define each? ›

“Those domains are social, emotional, physical, cognitive and language.” The five critical domains inform the JBSA CDPs' approach to early childhood education, but they also can provide a blueprint for parents as they facilitate their children's development.

What is the main idea of self-regulation? ›

Self-regulation requires self-awareness and monitoring of one's own emotional state and responses to stimuli. Being conscious of your own thoughts, feelings, and behavior is the foundation of self-regulation; without it, there is no ability to reflect or choose a different path.

What are the steps of self-regulation? ›

The self-regulation process: The process of self-regulation consists of three steps — monitoring your behavior, judging your behavior and reacting to your behavior. These steps involve reflecting on your values and how they relate to your behavior.

How do you practice self-regulation? ›

How to improve your self-regulation abilities
  1. Practice self-awareness. One of the most important steps in self-regulation is to learn self-awareness. ...
  2. Meditate. ...
  3. Exercise. ...
  4. Align your goals with your values. ...
  5. Be kind to yourself. ...
  6. Keep a journal. ...
  7. Engage in positive self-talk. ...
  8. Seek feedback.
Oct 7, 2019

What is self-regulation in one word? ›

Definitions of self-regulating. adjective. designed to activate or move or regulate itself. synonyms: self-acting, self-activating, self-moving automatic.

What are 4 components of self-regulated learning? ›

Self-regulated learning refers to one's ability to understand and control one's learning environment. Self-regulation abilities include goal setting, self-monitoring, self-instruction, and self-reinforcement (Harris & Graham, 1999; Schraw, Crippen, & Hartley, 2006; Shunk, 1996).

What is self-regulation and what are its three key components? ›

The three essential components of academic self-regulation—planning, problem solving, and self-evaluation—usually occur in a specific sequence (Cleary & Zimmerman, 2002; Zimmerman, 2008). Academically self-regulated students take time to plan.

How do you teach children self-regulation? ›

How to support the development of self-regulation in children
  1. Manage your own stress. ...
  2. Keep the end goal in mind. ...
  3. Develop realistic expectations. ...
  4. Stay calm and model self-regulation. ...
  5. Be supportive and encouraging. ...
  6. Ensure that children's resource pool for regulation is regularly replenished. ...
  7. Reduce unnecessary demands.

Why is it important for children to learn self-regulation? ›

Self-regulation skills help children and adults achieve their goals, but they also help avoid the negative consequences of bad behavior. As kids develop cognitively, they need to recognize that bad behavior has consequences and know what those consequences will be so they can make good choices.

How do you support self-regulation in childcare? ›

  1. develop a structured program with a consistent routine.
  2. make information about the program easily understandable to all children (use both words and pictures, for example)
  3. schedule staff to work on consistent days and times.
Nov 11, 2021

Why are the five domains important? ›

Thus, the Five Domains provide a means of evaluating the welfare of an individual or group of animals in a particular situation, with a strong focus on mental well-being and positive experiences.

Who created the 5 domains? ›

The Five Domains Model was developed by Professor David Mellor, former Director of the Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre at Massey University. It is the animal welfare assessment model adopted by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums in their Animal Welfare Strategy.

What is a domain name Give 5 examples for domain names? ›

Domain Name Types
  • .com – commercial business (the most common TLD)
  • org – organizations (typically, nonprofit)
  • gov – government agencies.
  • edu – educational institutions.
  • net – network organizations.
  • mil – military.

What are the 5 domains of teaching? ›

The five general domains are (a) Knowledge about the general educational context, (b) Knowledge about the specific educational context, (c) General pedagogical knowledge. (d) Subject matter knowledge, and (e) Pedagogical content knowledge.

What are the 5 principles of development? ›

The five principles of sustainable development are as follows:
  • Conservation of the ecosystem or the environment.
  • Conservation of biodiversity of the planet.
  • Sustainable development of the society.
  • Conservation of human resources.
  • Population control and management.

What is the purpose of a 5 areas of development? ›

The Five Areas of Development is a holistic approach to learning for Cerebral, Emotional, Physical, Social and Spiritual development. The pace at which the world is changing and will change is unprecedented. During the Pandemic, we saw how quickly established norms of life disappeared.

What is the goal of self-regulation skills? ›

Self-regulation is a skill that allows people to manage their emotions, behavior, and body movement when they're faced with a tough situation. It also allows them to do that while staying focused and paying attention.

What are the benefits of self-regulation? ›

Self-regulation, however, allows kids to manage their behaviors, body movements, and emotions while still focusing on the task at hand. When self-regulation skills are working, a child can identify the cause, reduce the intensity of the impulse, and possibly know how to resist acting on it.

What is the first step in self-regulation? ›

The first step in self-regulated learning is to plan and set goals. Goals are guideposts that students use to check their own progress. Setting goals involves activating prior knowledge about the difficulty of the task and about one's own ability in that content area.

What are the 5 emotion regulation strategies? ›

Here are five strategies to develop your ability to regulate your emotions from psychologist and researcher James Gross of Stanford University.
  • Situation selection. ...
  • Situation modification. ...
  • Attentional deployment. ...
  • Cognitive reappraisal. ...
  • Response modulation.
Apr 26, 2021

What is regulation short answer? ›

Regulation is the controlling of an activity or process, usually by means of rules. new regulation. Regulations are rules made by a government or other authority in order to control the way something is done or the way people behave .

What is the full meaning of regulation? ›

: an authoritative rule. specifically : a rule or order issued by a government agency and often having the force of law see also Administrative Procedure Act.

What are the three types of self-regulation? ›

The individual set of self-regulation strategies that are usually used by successful students fall into three categories: personal, behavioral, and environmental.

How many levels of self-regulation are there? ›

With regard to the learning process, the model defines three levels of student regulation in a learning situation: Self-Regulation represents a high degree of self-regulation or positive proactivity, that is, active and adequate regulation of one's own behavior (level 3 of SR).

What are the key elements required to develop self-regulation? ›

Self-Regulation Strategies: Methods for Managing Myself
  • Consciously attend to breathing, relaxing;
  • Exercise;
  • Movement;
  • Awareness of body sensations;
  • Attending to care for my body, nutrition;
  • Meditation and prayer;
  • Self-expression: art, music, dance, writing, etc.;
  • Caring, nurturing self-talk;

What factors affect self-regulation? ›

The act of self-regulating is dependent on several different factors that interact with each other, those that are individual to the child or youth as well as those that are external or environmental, including biology, skills, motivation, caregiver support, and environmental context.

How can teachers help children develop self regulation? ›

Children learn to manage their emotions and behaviors better when they feel a positive con- nection with their teacher. Develop a warm relationship with every child to create a strong and essential foundation for your co-regulation practices. Create calm and structured childcare environments.

How is self regulation learned? ›

The Cycle of Self-Regulated Learning. Self-regulated learning is a cyclical process, wherein the student plans for a task, monitors their performance, and then reflects on the outcome. The cycle then repeats as the student uses the reflection to adjust and prepare for the next task.

How do you promote self regulation in toddlers? ›

Respond with warmth and structure during stressful moments. Children need the most co-regulation support when they are upset and unable to regulate their own emotions. You can promote self-regulation development by staying warm and responsive while you help them calm down.

What domain is self-regulation? ›

Self-Reg helps us consider self- regulation and stress across five interrelated domains: biological, emotion, cognitive, social and prosocial.

What are 4 components of self regulated learning? ›

Self-regulated learning refers to one's ability to understand and control one's learning environment. Self-regulation abilities include goal setting, self-monitoring, self-instruction, and self-reinforcement (Harris & Graham, 1999; Schraw, Crippen, & Hartley, 2006; Shunk, 1996).

What are the components of self-regulation? ›

Three components: cognition, metacognition, and motivation.

What are the five steps to self-regulation conscious discipline? ›

Only when we feel and identify an emotion can we consciously choose to regulate our behavior. The CLASSROOM EDITION: Feeling Buddies Self-Regulation Toolkit aids in this vital process. The five steps of self-regulation are I Am, I Calm, I Feel, I Choose and I Solve.

What is self-regulation quizlet? ›

Definition. Self-regulation refers to children's ability to manage their emotions, focus their attention, and inhibit some behaviors while activating others (Rimm-Kaufman et al, 2009).

What is an example of self-regulation in the workplace? ›

Self-regulation might involve rethinking or reappraising challenging situations to reduce anger or anxiety, masking disappointment or sadness, or focusing on reasons to feel happy or calm.

What are self-regulated learning strategies? ›

What is Self-Regulated Learning? Self-regulated learning is a cyclical process, wherein the student plans for a task, monitors their performance, and then reflects on the outcome. The cycle then repeats as the student uses the reflection to adjust and prepare for the next task.

What are self regulating processes? ›

"Self-Regulation refers to the self-directive process through which learners transform their mental abilities into task related skills" (Zimmerman, 2001). This is the method or procedure that learners use to manage and organize their thoughts and convert them into skills used for learning.

What are the stages of self-regulation cycle? ›

Self-regulated learning has 3 phases (Zimmerman, 2002). Forethought, Performance, and Self-reflection. These steps are sequential, so the self-regulated learner follows these phases in the order named when they learn something. The first phase is Forethought, which is a preparation step for self-regulated learning.

What are the principles of self-regulation and self awareness? ›

Self-awareness is knowing what we are feeling and why we are feeling it. Self-regulation is intentionally choosing how to respond to those emotions. Not everyone currently may have this awareness and regulation of self, but this skill of emotional intelligence (EI) is learnable.


1. What is Self Reg? Dr. Stuart Shanker Explains
(The MEHRIT Centre)
2. The Social Domain | The Self Regulation Institute with Dr. Stuart Shanker
(Self Regulation Institute)
3. The Cognitive Domain | Self Regulation Institute with Dr. Stuart Shanker
(Self Regulation Institute)
4. What is Self-Reg? | Self Regulation Institute with Dr. Stuart Shanker
(Self Regulation Institute)
5. The Prosocial Domain | The Self-Regulation Institute with Dr. Stuart Shanker
(Self Regulation Institute)
6. HELP ME! How do I handle my emotional 5 year old?
(Playful Pathways)
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