Self-Management: Emotional Regulation
The ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations — effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. The ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals. Includes: -Impulse control -Stress management -Self-discipline -Self-motivation -Goal setting -Organizational skills
Pro-Tip: Children rely on co-regulation as they learn how to self-regulate. Every time you provide your child with a supportive, loving response to his/her big emotions, and every time you model your own self-regulation, you are doing the majority of the work to help you child learn to regulate his/her emotions. Be the calm in the storm, regardless if the storm is some external factor or your child's own emotions. It is scary to feel out of control and even more so if the adult is also out of control.
Pro-Tip 2: Watch this video of the way this father responds to and co-regulates with his child in one of the most powerful displays of love I have ever seen. The patience and respect for the child and what she is going through, clearly seeing her behavior for what it is (emotion that has overcome her and must come out) instead of trying to stop or stifle it is the perfect example for all parents and caregivers of young children.
1. Talk about how the body feels in each state of emotion. You can use the color zones: blue = slow, green = calm, yellow = wiggly, red = tight. Here is a music video that illustrate these concepts:
2. Check out the article from https://hes-extraordinary.com/improve-emotional-regulation-just-7-minutes-per-day to read about the ways exercise help regulate emotions and download a free copy of this poster.
-Fill your body with sand video by Brianne. Note: the sound is very low, but if you plug in headphones, you can hear better.
-Practice kind thoughts by prompting your child to think of 5 people they’d like to send kind wishes to - you can use this printable
-Blow bubbles ‘slo-mo’ style, emphasizing a big deep breath in through the nose to fill the bubble… and out through the mouth as slow as possible
-Squeeze and let go, tensing different muscles in the body for 5 seconds and then slowing releasing
-Tune into the body by getting down on your child’s level and feeling each other’s heartbeats
-Take a mindful walk pointing out sights and sounds along the way. Explore textures in nature, take a walk to collect several different objects and observe/describe how each feels
-Find shapes in the sky by laying down together and choosing different objects to search for in the clouds
-Practice noticing with art. Choose several different utensils and describe how they all feel different on the paper
-Try ‘buddy breathing’ and invite your child to grab a toy/stuffed animal to place on their tummy while they lay down and take slow breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth
-Sit down with your child and ‘color your feelings’ together depicting each emotion with a new color
-Listen to some music and see how many different instruments you can each hear, paint to the music
-Explore gratitude by going back and forth with your child (for as long as you can!) to name as many things possible that you are grateful for
-Practice this grounding technique:
Other Calming Strategies
- Heavy work: Have your child do activities that require physical effort that they can feel the compression/stretching of the joints (pushing and pulling!). For example: wall-push ups, wheel-barrow walks, wrestling and rough housing, tug-o-war, jumping, knead dough, digging in a garden, vacuuming, scrubbing the bathtub, drink a thick liquid such as a smoothie or soup through a straw, etc. Find more ideas here.
- squeeze a pliable object
- push against a wall
- wrap up tightly in a blanket - or tuck a blanket around the bed tightly around yourself
- listen to calming music
- chew gum
- go for a jog
- use a fidget spinner
- pop bubble wrap