Information, opinions, and chatter create a lot of noise in this day and age. From that mascara advertisement all the way to political opinions from Uncle Marv, there’s always something we can react to. Adults and kids alike could use a few extra pointers in self-regulation. Our guess is that if you’re reading this, you’re ready to learn more about this essential life skill and how we can help our kids become self-regulation masters.
What Exactly is Self-Regulation?
Self-regulation is exactly what it sounds like; regulating the self. It refers to our ability to control and adjust our behavior and big emotions in relation to a given circumstance. It’s all about personal understanding and managing our reactions to the things that are happening around us. Self-regulation is valuable because it allows us to achieve goals and connect with others, thus living a happier life. Kids with certain conditions such as sensory processing disorder, ADHD, or anxiety, may struggle with managing their behavior and emotions in socially acceptable ways.
Reacting to Big Emotions
If you see an email notification pop up, do you find that you have to check it immediately even if you’re in the middle of another task? This is a clear-cut example of a self-regulatory struggle. Assuming that the email is not the priority, the best thing to do is to remind yourself that you can check it later and carry on with what you were doing. For kids, they are just learning how to control their reactions in an appropriate way. The email example is a situation that we can use to relate to a child who has issues with controlling their behavior. Problems with self-regulation may come across as a tantrum, an underreaction, appearing withdrawn, acting impulsively, or being unresponsive to discipline. Since your child is new to self-regulation, it’s important to be patient, be a role model, and help them understand how to demonstrate appropriate responses. You are your kiddo’s number one guide when developing this new skill.
Hired as Manager
You are the manager of your own body. You get to decide what you do and how you respond to different situations. Your child is working hard toward this promotion, but they need help from the expert. That’s you! Teach them ways to better manage situations. Try calm down techniques, involve them in the problem-solving process, and give praise when they hit all the right notes. It’s really amazing what a deep breath will do! The key is to be able to pause between the emotion and the reactive response. Stay consistent with your reminders to your child. Life experiences can be challenging, but with a little planning ahead and self-regulation, the hard parts of life can become so much easier to manage.