As parents, it can be challenging to watch our children struggle with intense emotions and outbursts. However, helping our children develop emotional regulation skills is crucial for their overall well-being and success. In this blog post, we’ll discuss practical strategies to help a child regulate their emotions and avoid outbursts. From creating a safe and predictable environment to teaching coping mechanisms, we’ll explore actionable tips that can help your child thrive emotionally.
What is Self-regulation?
Self-regulation refers to the ability to manage one’s emotional responses, thoughts, and behavior effectively. It’s a crucial life skill that helps individuals adapt to different situations, manage stress and anxiety, and maintain healthy relationships. Self-regulation can also be thought of as the successful integration of emotion (what a child feels) and cognition (what a child knows or can do) resulting in appropriate behavior.
Why do some children struggle with self-regulation?
There are many factors that can contribute to a child’s inability to regulate their emotions. Some children may have sensory sensitivities, neurological differences, or have experienced trauma or stress in their lives. Children may also struggle with self-regulation if they have not been taught the necessary skills or have not had opportunities to practice them.
Some factors that may contribute to self-regulation difficulties in children include:
- Developmental delays – Children who have developmental delays may find it challenging to regulate their emotions as they may have trouble processing information and communicating their feelings.
- Trauma – Children who have experienced trauma may struggle with self-regulation as they may be overwhelmed by their emotions and find it difficult to manage their responses.
- Genetics – Some children may have a genetic predisposition to emotional dysregulation, making it more challenging for them to manage their emotions.
- Environment – Children who grow up in chaotic or stressful environments may struggle with self-regulation as they may not have consistent caregivers or routines that provide a sense of safety and security.
How to help a child regulate their emotions?
As a parent, helping your child regulate their emotions can be a challenging task. Emotional regulation is a crucial skill that enables children to understand and manage their feelings, leading to healthier relationships, better mental health, better self-awareness and improved overall well-being.
Talk about feelings:
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to create a safe space for your child to talk about their feelings. Encourage your child to express their emotions by asking open-ended questions, such as “How do you feel about that?” or “What’s on your mind?” This will help your child feel heard and understood, which is essential for developing healthy emotional regulation skills.
Help your child recognise their emotions:
Teach your child how to recognize the physical sensations that accompany different emotions. For example, when they are feeling anxious, their heart may race, and their palms may become sweaty. Helping your child recognize these sensations can help them identify and understand their emotions.
Validate their emotions:
Validation is a powerful tool for helping your child manage their emotions. When your child expresses their feelings, acknowledge and validate their emotions. For example, “I can see that you’re feeling upset right now, and that’s okay.” This will help your child feel heard and understood, and it will also teach them that it’s okay to experience a range of emotions.
Teach them coping strategies:
Teach your child strategies for managing their emotions in a healthy way. You can use deep breathing exercises, counting, or taking a break to help your child regulate their emotions.
- Practice deep breathing: Deep breathing exercises can help calm the body and mind, and can be an effective tool for regulating emotions. Encourage your child to take slow, deep breaths and to focus on the sensation of their breath.
- Count to calm down: Teach your child to count slowly from one to ten when they are feeling overwhelmed. This can help them take a step back and give them time to regulate their emotions.
- Take a break: Encourage your child to take a break when they are feeling overwhelmed. This can help them step back and give them time to regulate their emotions.
Seek Professional Help at UNIS Hanoi
If your child is struggling with self-regulation, it may be helpful to seek the support of a professional. At UNIS Hanoi, we have a our team of experienced educators and therapists can provide the support and guidance your child needs to develop healthy emotional regulation skills.
The Counsellors assist students, parents, and teachers to promote and enhance the development, learning, and well-being of the students. This includes:
- Assessment of the student experiencing social, emotional, and/ or behavioral concerns
- Conducting individual or small group counseling
- Development and administration of student support programmes (parent courses, transition)
- Consultation with parents and teachers • Teaching PSEL (Physical and Social Emotional Literacy) lessons to an entire class.
UNIS Hanoi also has a full time School Psychologist who is able to complete a range of educational-psychological testing to determine how the School may best meet a child’s needs. Book your bespoke virtual or on-campus tour now.