Early Teacher–Child Relationships Promote Self-Regulation Development in Prekindergarten

Kathleen Moritz Rudasill, Ibrahim Acar, Yaoying Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Children’s experiences during the prekindergarten period are critical for shaping their emerging self-regulation skills. The purpose of this study was to examine the contribution of teacher–child relationship quality to children’s performance on a self-regulation task at the end of prekindergarten. Teachers rated the conflict, closeness, and dependency in their relationships with 104 children in the fall of prekindergarten, and children’s self-regulation was independently measured with a visual attention task in the spring of prekindergarten. In addition, teachers and parents rated children’s temperamental self-regulation (i.e., effortful control). Results indicate that greater teacher–child dependency predicted children’s longer time on the visual attention task, and greater teacher–child closeness predicted children’s lower accuracy on the visual attention task. In addition, children who were rated as more self-regulated by parents were more accurate on the visual attention task. The implications of the results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8802
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • effortful control
  • prekindergarten
  • self-regulation
  • teacher–child relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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