Preschool Children’s Self-regulation and Learning Behaviors: The Moderating Role of Teacher–Child Relationship

Ibrahim H. Acar, Mefharet Veziroğlu-Çelik, Kathleen Moritz Rudasill, Martinique A. Sealy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Children’s approach to learning is essential for both academic achievement and socio-emotional well-being. This competence is influenced by both individual (self-regulation) and environmental factors (teacher–child relationships). Objective: The aim of the present study is to examine Turkish children’s learning behaviors through the interplay of children’s self-regulation and teacher–child relationship. In particular, we examine the moderating role of teacher–child relationship quality on the link between self-regulation and learning behaviors. Method: Participants were 140 preschool children (81 boys) from a disadvantaged neighborhood in Istanbul, Turkey. Children’s age ranged from 39 to 77 months (M = 62.55, SD = 8.53). Teachers reported on teacher–child relationship quality and children’s learning behaviors. We assessed children’s self-regulation via structured performance-based tasks. Results: Regression results using SAS PROC MIXED showed: first, the combination of high teacher–child closeness and hot self-regulation was related to higher levels of learning behaviors. Second, teacher closeness was positively, and teacher conflict was negatively associated with children’s learning behaviors. Third, cool and hot aspects of self-regulation were related to children’s learning behaviors; this was true only for cool aspects of self-regulation in multivariate analyses. Conclusions: Children’s self-regulation (hot and cool aspects) and the qualities of teacher–child relationships appear to be important for their approaches to learning. Findings from the current study provide additional support for individual-context interaction for child outcomes in the Turkish preschool educational context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalChild and Youth Care Forum
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Learning behaviors
  • Preschool children
  • Self-regulation
  • Teacher–child relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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