Making the world a better place for children and those who love and care for them

Self-Regulation: An Essential Skill for Children & Young People

Chances are that you’ve heard of the Marshmallow Experiment. To a large degree the Marshmallow Experiment began the “self-regulation” movement. 

Dr. Walter Mischel of Stanford University conducted the experiment in the late 1960’s to explore the control of delayed gratification in children. As he followed their development, Mischel uncovered a strong correlation between the ability to delay gratification and future academic success and success in life.

The Marshmallow Test involved 4 year old children being alone in a room with a marshmallow in front of them and being told by the researcher that they can have the marshmallow now or if they wait 15 minutes to eat the marshmallow they will be given another marshmallow.  

Watch this version of the marshmallow test and guess what percentage of the kids you think could wait to eat the marshmallow and thus get the second marshmallow.

In Mischel’s test, around 30% of the 4 year olds could wait. 


The children who were involved in the test were then followed over the following years and it was discovered that the children who could wait to eat the marshmallow scored an average of 210 points better on their college entrance exams, did better socially and were less susceptible to drug use and other risky behaviours.


Since then, there has been an explosion of research done on self-regulation and study after study confirms that one of the major keys to a child’s success is the ability to self-regulate.


The question many ask is whether a child’s ability to self-regulate can be improved?


Canada’s leading expert on self-regulation, Dr. Stuart Shanker, knows it can!


Dr. Shanker is speaking on the subject of self-regulation at the Positive Discipline Conference in Calgary on October 25 & 26, 2013. He will be sharing extensive information on why self-regulation is such an essential skill to develop and how to set up environments so that kids can reach optimal self-regulation.


The Conference provides an outstanding opportunity for parents, teachers, caregivers and anyone who works with children to learn not only about how to help children develop self-regulation but on discipline practices that support self-regulation as well.

For more information or to register for the conference go to


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