What is regulation, and why is it Important for your child?

Regulation is the ability to manage one’s emotions and behaviours in response to internal and external stimuli. It plays a critical role in a child’s well-being, as it helps them cope with stress, make good decisions, and interact positively with others. When a child is dysregulated, they may exhibit challenging behaviours like tantrums, aggression, or withdrawal, which can impact their academic, social, and emotional growth.

It is important to recognize that anyone can experience dysregulation when triggered.

These calming strategies help your child learn to regulate their emotions and reduce stress.

The good news is that you can use many simple and effective strategies to help your dysregulated child regulate their emotions and behaviours. These include creating a predictable routine, providing sensory input, and using calming techniques like deep breathing or visualization. You can also teach your child coping skills like problem-solving, mindfulness, and self-care, which can help them manage their emotions and build resilience.

  1. Speak in a low and soothing tone

When your child is dysregulated, speaking in a quiet and soothing tone can help create a calming environment. Children often model their behaviour after adults, so modelling a calm demeanour can help them regulate their emotions.

  1. Create a calm environment

Dim the lights and create a designated space that is free of clutter and visual distractions to help direct the child’s attention to the task at hand and encourage calmness and attentiveness.

  1. Provide sensory activities

Using sensory activities such as sensory bins or fidget toys can provide the child additional stimulation or calming input. You could even try giving them a crunchy snack. This can help them regulate their emotions and reduce stress.

  1. Teach coping strategies

Help the child identify their emotions and feelings, and teach them coping strategies to regulate their emotions, such as deep breathing or mindfulness exercises. This can give them tools to manage their feelings when they become dysregulated.

Need help naming that emotion? Click here to download a free “Feelings Word List”.

  1. Establish a routine

Creating a calm and structured environment for the child that includes regular routines and predictable schedules can help reduce stress and provide stability and predictability.

  1. Practice positive discipline

Instead of punishing negative behaviours, reinforce positive behaviours to encourage the child to continue making good choices. This can help build their confidence and sense of self-control.

  1. Foster a strong relationship

A strong and supportive relationship with the child can help them feel secure and confident in their ability to manage their emotions. This can also provide opportunities for them to connect with others, such as peers or family members.

  1. Promote physical activity

Providing opportunities for physical activity, such as playing outside or doing yoga, can help release energy and promote relaxation. This can help reduce stress and regulate the child’s emotions.

  1. Teach Problem-solving skills

Teach the child problem-solving skills and help them identify and solve problems causing emotional dysregulation. This can empower them to take control of their emotions and find solutions to challenging situations.

  1. Model self-regulation

Modelling self-regulation techniques for the child, such as deep breathing or mindfulness exercises, can help them learn these skills and practice them together as a family.

  1. Seek professional help

If the child’s dysregulation is impacting their daily functioning or causing significant distress, seek professional help. A mental health professional can provide additional support and guidance.

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