What is Self-Regulation?
Self-regulation is a very important part of early development. It is related to attention, resolving conflict, and following the rules. It can help children to do better in school, cooperate with others, and play well with friends.
For example, you tell your child it’s time to clean up her toys and instead of crying or throwing a tantrum like she used to, she now listens to you, takes a breath, and begins to put her toys away.
To help your child develop their self – regulation skills, you can:
- Use some of the Emotion Coaching steps.
- Listen with empathy
- Name her emotions
- Be patient and try not to “fix” things every time your child becomes upset.
Your child will learn to regulate their emotions with practice. Be patient and let them try to work it out before offering a solution.
- When you see her self-regulate, you a can praise her.
For example, you ask her not to touch something and even though she wants to continue, she stops and does not touch it. Praise her for listening and following directions.
Q & A
Q: My child has started throwing tantrums almost every day. Is this a phase? How can I help him calm down and listen?
A: Tantrums are part of growing up. Even though they can be difficult, they can also be a great opportunity to teach your child about how to handle big emotions.
Toddlers are still learning about how to self regulate and keep calm. Try working with your child on this skill during a time when he is not actually upset.
You can practice a calming skill like deep breathing by having him make a Kleenex move with his breath. Have him put his hands on his belly and feel it move in and out. Point out how this kind of breathing can help him feel calm and relaxed.
Also remember that children learn a lot from watching the adults around them. Remember to take a breath for yourself, remain calm, and keep in mind that tantrums don’t last forever.