Alright guys, let’s talk about emotional regulation! Whether we are aware of it or not, our kids learn how to regulate their emotions from us, their parents. The best way we can teach them healthy emotional regulation is by example. We need to display how with our own actions and words. Being mindful is key.
I will be the first to admit that I have a hot temper and at times a quick fuse. Throw in extra stress with a sprinkle of anxiety and that’s a recipe for disaster for my emotional regulation skills.
Lately I have been feeling less patient and quick to come to a boiling point. When I feel like this, I pull out this bad boy!
I made this for my clients but I use it for myself. I love having the visual so that I can use it as a reminder to be mindful of my reactions. It helps me remember to better regulate my emotions which leads to less outbursts towards my children.
Our kids mimic our reactions and we as their teachers can model regulation. They are always watching. Modeling emotional regulation when frustrated or angry is key to how my hot tempered 6 year old reacts to certain situations.
When a situation arises I will say: “I am feeling very frustrated/angry etc.. right now. I am going to look at my poster.”
Then I talk them through what I am going to do. “I am going to take a deep breath over here by myself and I will be right back” (Or whatever you would do to help regulate yourself.)
Afterwards, I talk about it with them. “When I was upset, I felt like screaming. But then I looked at my poster and followed it and it helped me. Instead of screaming I took a sip of water, counted to 30 in a room by myself and then I was able to think again!” Sometimes I need a little longer than 30 seconds but you get the picture!
Children don’t come with the skill to regulate their emotions. We need to teach them. And through modelling is the first step!
WHAT TO DO WHEN WE FLIP OUR LID!
Now that we’ve covered what we adults can do to model emotional regulation for our children, I want to talk about what happens if we lose our cool and don’t model what we would like our children to do.
This happens to all of us at one point or another. Sometimes we are triggered and lose our patience and do not respond the way that we want to.
So what can we do in this situation? We can apologize to our children and involve them/get their input on what we can do differently the next time.
“I am sorry that I yelled at you. I was very angry. What do you think I can do the next time I feel really angry instead of yelling?”
An impactful apology only takes a moment but the benefits of recognizing and correcting our own mistakes are immeasurable. Apologizing lets them know that their feelings are valid and that we are humans and we make mistakes, nobody is perfect. Not only that, but it models empathy, honesty and courage. Not to mention involving them gets their input and furthers their learning about their own regulation skills.
If you want more in depth guidance on handling emotional regulation with your family, reach out to us and let’s chat!