Lynda Hutchinson

In the eyes of a young child, parents are teachers too; parents’ interests in seeing their children become successful can be harnessed to foster opportunities for their children’s development of self-regulation for lifelong learning.  As a parent herself, Dr. Lynda Hutchinson believes that young children’s self-regulation for learning can be fostered through enhanced dialogue between parents and teachers to discuss common ground, goals, and effective strategies for supporting self-regulation at home and in school.  

“Parents are a rich source of information; they have a history with their children that spans multiple contexts. They have knowledge of the strengths and challenges that their children have had with self-regulation over their entire lifespan”- Dr. Hutchinson 

Dr. Hutchinson’s interest in the power of self-regulation for learning was sparked by the growth she witnessed in her young students as a diving instructor almost 30 years ago. Since then, her teaching, parenting, and research experiences have motivated her to pursue an understanding of how children learn to assess challenges and adapt to life contexts with effective learning strategies. Self regulation develops gradually over time and requires patience, manifesting differently for every child. Despite common beliefs, Dr. Hutchinson’s research demonstrates that with support from their loved ones, young kids are remarkably capable of self-regulation in contexts that foster opportunities for it using familiar routines and structures. These observations have led Dr. Hutchinson to focus her research on making parents and teachers meaningful partners in promoting self regulated learning at home and in school for success in life. Her studies involve identifying parenting strategies that ease the challenges of raising young children while revealing the impacts of parental stress on children’s development and learning. Dr. Hutchinson aims to support parents to promote self-regulation for learning across contexts, and to generate rewarding experiences for parents which are also vital for their children’s development. 

Parenting In Support of Self-Regulation for Lifelong Learning 

Dr. Hutchinson uses her research to equip parents with tools and supports to effectively manage their responsibilities as children’s first teachers. The increasing busyness, time demands, and stress that are associated with effective parenting is a key consideration throughout her work; importantly, supporting children to develop skills and strategies so they learn how to manage the demands of situations on their own can provide a valuable learning opportunity while being less demanding for parents. Dr. Hutchinson encourages parents to consider what key supports their children need from them to manage a challenging situation, and when the best timing for a “pep-talk” might be to ease them into it. A quiet, calm voice that communicates confidence and provides reassurance can go a long way to prepare children for managing potential challenges. A “pep talk” can also be used as a teaching tactic to support their engagement in classroom activities that encourage self regulation for learning. Hence, Dr. Hutchinson’s research brings parents and teachers together to form common language and common goals while exchanging strategies that encourage children’s self-regulation and success in multiple contexts. After all, children employ self-regulation to control their learning in classrooms, and they also use it to regulate their emotions and social interactions.  

 “I slowly pull back on how much I’m doing until my kids are confident doing things on their own. [As part of developing their confidence in self-regulation] we try and help them consider how their actions [towards themselves, us, and others] impact the future”- B. Fraser 

Dr. Hutchinson’s work taps into the wealth of knowledge that parents and teacher partners offer from their experiences with children. Her research heavily intersects with her own experiences and those of each of the partners that she has had the fortune of collaborating with. Dr. Hutchinson hopes to inspire a spirit of collaboration between parents and teachers to invite a cross-disciplinary approach to self-regulation for learning. With support at home, young children can learn about and develop their abilities to self-regulate their emotions, interactions, and learning.  


Lynda Hutchinson, PhD
Associate Professor, King’s University College at Western University Department of Psychology 

General Research Interests: 

  • Young Children’s Self-Regulation for Learning 
  • Measuring Self-Regulation for Learning 
  • Teacher and Parent Factors That Support Self-Regulation at Home and in School