Self-regulation has been established as an important foundational skill associated with a variety of outcomes, including school readiness, academic achievement, and long-term health and educational outcomes (McClelland, Acock, Piccinin, Rhea, & Stallings, 2013; Moffitt et al., 2011). Although researchers have described self-regulation from a diverse set of perspectives, experts agree that self-regulation has important implications for health and well-being starting early in life. Self-regulation includes both top-down (executive functions, or EF) and bottom-up regulation of thoughts, feelings, and behavior (Blair & Raver, 2012). This entry focuses on the cognitive aspects of self-regulation that are rooted in self-regulation processes including attentional or cognitive flexibility, working memory, and inhibitory control.

Attentional or cognitive flexibility allows children to shift focus and pay attention to new details. Working memory allows ...

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