Self Regulation: What is it, and How will it Help?

Self-regulation is the ability to monitor and control our own behavior, emotions, or thoughts, altering them in accordance with the demands of the situation.  When we develop self-regulation skills, we have the ability to act in our long-term best interest, consistent with our deepest values.

Young people often lack the life experience of their parents to see the future consequences of behavior in the same way an adult might.  As parents, it’s our duty to help our children develop the habits needed to guide them to become successful adults.

Video games and social media gratify your needs immediately and are a hindrance to our ability to stay organized and keep up with the demands of life. That’s why the Summerland program at Camp Pocono Trails (CPT) places significant focus on self-regulation.

Developing Self-Regulation Skills

Let’s face it- the world has changed dramatically in the last 15 years.  There are distractions everywhere, and it’s easy for young people to get off track.  Summerland at CPT’s mission is to help young people learn to balance screen time activities with school, work, and home.  We see technology as a useful tool and a necessary component of modern life, but we also know that its overuse can bring young people unforeseen consequences.

There is an old Native American tale of two wolves that fight inside us.  One wolf represents everything good about us: honesty, integrity, hard work, happiness, caring for others, and fulfilling our life purpose.  The other wolf represents our pitfalls as humans: laziness, dishonesty, selfishness, anger, and aggression. The wolf who wins the fight is the wolf we feed.  Self-regulation keeps us feeding the good wolf.

Developing self-regulation skills is fun at camp! With careful planning, motivation, and positive peer support, we can push ourselves to accomplish almost anything!

Getting Your Child Back on Track

Our job as parents is to guide our children toward adulthood with the tools and skills necessary to become successful. Summerland at CPT prepares adolescents, teens, and young adults to live in a world surrounded by screen-based activities.  At its core- Summerland at CPT reconnects young people to life. We provide a technology detox and a “reset” opportunity in a healthy summer camp setting. Campers move, experience, and connect with nature and each other.

Campers learn about health and fitness, nutrition and culinary skills, take self-esteem classes and so much more. Campers soon replace their knee-jerk response to boredom or anxiety with healthy behaviors instead of relying on screens to change the way they feel.

We also help campers overcome the negative effects technology overuse may have created.  Often, adolescents and teens who overuse screen devices have become dependent on them for entertainment and stimulation.  Socialization opportunities have been missed out on, and they have learned to rely on parents to structure their time.

Behavior Planning: The Key to Your Child’s Success

At camp, we teach campers how to self-regulate.  This involves the use of a Behavior Planning Journal or what we refer to as a “BPJ.”  Goals set in the BPJ align with the camper’s values and life goals.  At Summerland at CPT, we say, “What gets measured, gets managed.”

The BPJ gives the camper instant feedback and positive reinforcement when they meet their daily obligations.  A BPJ is similar to a daily planner, where the structure is provided and behaviors are tracked.  At the end of camp, your child will be experienced in systematic self-monitoring and will have the self-regulation skills to be successful back home- along with parental support.

Structure Back Home

Self Regulation Tools
Self Regulation Tools: A pocket-sized Behavior Planning Journal (BPJ) and a pedometer.

Parents are trained on the use of the BPJ so they can support and encourage their child’s new commitment to moderating screen behavior.  Parents are provided with a Behavioral Contract and given guidance on how to use the contract to support their child’s behavioral changes.

Online remote aftercare is available for an additional cost after camp.  Campers check in with staff at camp by Zoom weekly and the BPJ is discussed.  Continual support and encouragement from Summerland at CPT staff help the child transition the skills learned at camp back home.

Why use a BPJ? Top 10 Reasons:

  1. Your BPJ, if properly filled out, sets clear goals. It gives us a clear commitment.
  2. Your goals, when broken down into what you can do that day provide immediate feedback.  We can feel good at the end of the day for meeting our goals, or not good which helps create behavioral changes.
  3. It allows us to focus on what we can do today in order to achieve life goals.
  4. We can track progress over time and look back to see what is working, and what is not working.
  5. Any effective behavior change program involves daily behavior tracking and keeping a journal.
  6. In life, it’s better to set a goal and shoot for a target than to have no goals at all.
  7. Even if we miss the target, at least we shot for something and improved our behavior.
  8. The BPJ gives us data to look back on and see why we may have missed our goal.
  9. We can work on rewards for behaviors that meet our contracted expectations.
  10. It helps us feel in control over our environment and habits. The BPJ is a coping mechanism in itself and can be anxiety-reducing.

We can also add to the BPJ any skill we want – weight loss, fitness goals, financial goals, academic goals – anything!