Self-regulation is the ability to control one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviour to achieve goals. It is a crucial life skill that helps children (and adults) to be successful in their everyday lives.
Self-regulation is a critical component of healthy development and can be enhanced through activities like setting goals, planning and monitoring progress, seeking feedback, and using relaxation techniques.
Good self-regulation abilities can help children manage stress, stay focused, and regulate their emotions. It can also help them to control impulses and make good decisions.
Three Phases of Child’s Self-Regulation
Emotional self-regulation is the first phase of child therapy that helps children learn to manage their emotions. In this phase, the therapist helps the child identify their feelings and understand how they affect their behaviour.
Behavioural self-regulation is the second phase of child therapy that helps children learn to control their behaviours. In this phase, the therapist helps the child identify problematic behaviours and find solutions that work for them.
Cognitive self-regulation includes thinking about one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions and controlling one’s behaviour.
Strategies to Help Your Child’s Self-Regulation Skills
- Create a calming space. Make sure that there is a place your child can go when they feel overwhelmed by emotions. This can be a quiet corner in the house, a small tent, or a cosy bean bag chair.
- Encourage deep breathing. Please help your child to understand how deep breathing can help to calm them down. Model deep breathing yourself and encourage your child to do the same when feeling overwhelmed.
- Talk about emotions. Let your child know that many different emotions are not bad or wrong. Explain how feelings can come and go and that it is normal to feel them at other times. Help your child to understand what they are feeling and why it might be essential to handle those particular emotions.
- Make a list of calming behaviours. Teach your child specific things they can do when they feel overwhelmed. This could include taking deep breaths, focusing on a clear image, writing down what they are feeling, or talking to a trusted adult.
- Practice self-care skills. Please help your child learn how to deal with emotions healthily by teaching them how to relax their body and mind. This could involve practising yoga or meditation, reading calming books, or taking breaks every few hours to refresh themselves.