Original Research

Children’s self-regulation and coping strategies in a frustrated context in early education

Jouni Veijalainen, Jyrki Reunamo, Nina Sajaniemi, Eira Suhonen
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 9, No 1 | a724 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v9i1.724 | © 2019 Jouni Veijalainen, Jyrki Reunamo, Nina Sajaniemi, Eira Suhonen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 November 2018 | Published: 12 September 2019

About the author(s)

Jouni Veijalainen, Department of Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Jyrki Reunamo, Department of Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Nina Sajaniemi, Department of Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland; and, Department of Early Education, University of Eastern Finland, Helsinki, Finland
Eira Suhonen, Department of Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland


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Abstract

Background: A large body of earlier research has focused on studying children’s self-regulation (SR) skills and frustration with different methods. However, considerably less attention has been given to hearing children’s own voice. The current study sought to demonstrate children’s own comprehension and highlight it as a valuable and unique tendency to fill the scientific gap in the research area.

Aim: This research aimed to contribute the empirical understanding of how SR, as mental ability, supported children’s coping strategies and comprehensions which they will possibly use in a hypothetical frustrated context in the Finnish early childhood education and care (ECEC) environment.

Setting: Self-regulation and strategies in a frustrating context were studied with mixed methods in a sample (n = 383) of 48–87-month-old children in Finland. Self-regulation was assessed by their own teachers with an evaluation form. The coping strategies of frustration were studied by interview where the children’s open-ended descriptions provided the strategies told by themselves.

Methods: The study’s was conducted by using mixed methods. Two independent instruments to measure SR and strategies for frustration were used. Self-regulation was assessed by teacher with an evaluation form. The coping strategies of frustration were studied via child interview.

Results: Good SR skills were related to persistent coping strategies and not giving up in a simulated situation. Weak SR skills related more with uncertain or withdrawal coping strategies, like giving up, or abandoning the situation.

Conclusion: Self-regulation skills have an important role in guiding children with their use and narration of suitable coping strategies on overcoming the frustration effectively. The concrete strategies would allow teachers to work concretely with children in enhancing their SR skills and coping strategies further.


Keywords

self-regulation skills; frustration; conflict; coping strategies; early childhood; interview

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