Teaching Self-Regulation To Your Child

October 10, 2018 Susan Keightley

Teaching Self-Regulation To Your Child

Managing emotions is an excellent building block for success and interpersonal growth for young children. Preschool is a vital time to learn how to control emotions in a healthy way and our Family Services manager, Mary Taverner, explains the techniques we use at CFNC to help our students learn good self-regulating behavior.

1. Model behavior and get on their level:
Get on their level! When you get down to eye level with a child, it helps them feel safer. This action shows respect and listening from the adult and allows the child to feel more comfortable.

2. Teach feeling words:
As adults we are able to recognize when we are angry and manage those emotions by not acting out. Children on the other hand just know they feel something and they are going to react. First, acknowledge the feeling a child is having and validate it. Then, reinforce that even though it is ok to feel the way you feel; we don’t get to act with bad behavior. For example: “if someone knocked my blocks down I would be upset too, but just because we are upset about this doesn’t mean we can hurt someone.” The idea here is to establish that the feeling or emotional response they are having is ok, but the action is not. This also helps children to assign words to emotions.

3. Engage the scene
A good way to engage a child and redirect their attention, helping calm them down is by signing. You can start signing one of their favorite songs. This helps take their mind off of how upset they are in that moment and refocuses them on something more positive. It also helps to regulate their breathing. It’s even better if you can get them to sing along with you. Another great tactic is to get them to count aloud with you or play a hand game like patty cake.