Emotional regulation is all over the education world, and if you’re a parent you’ve probably heard of it. If you haven’t heard those words exactly, you’ve DEFINITELY experienced your child working on it 😅. Helping your child learn how to emotionally regulate can be simple and easy to intertwine into your day-to-day life. I’m all about practicality, because parents already have enough to do.
Here’s today’s tip for emotional regulation:
Model how you work through your own “big feelings” by verbalizing the feelings, your thought process, and the choices you’re considering.
it shows your child that feelings are normal and can be processed and moved through.
When we have a problem that clearly interferes with our life and we just push our feelings aside and mask them with a smile, our kids learn to do the same. This pattern teaches them that when frustrating things happen we push the feelings down and cover it up. This also unintentionally teaches them that “negative” feelings are something we want to avoid.
Instead, we can show them how to swiftly move through having feelings. We can show them how to move past being frustrated, annoyed, inconvenienced, etc. This will teach them that everyone experiences feelings and that negative feelings don’t have to derail us.
When it’s a relatively simple frustration.
This is not the time to dive into a complicated or complex challenge you’re working though. This is for things like you’ve picked up your kids’ lunch box off of the floor three days in a row, or the babysitter got sick and had to cancel last minute. When it’s a really big problem it’s okay to say something like, “This is a big, complicated problem and I’m having a lot of feelings. I have a plan to work through them later. Right now I want to be present with you.”
Easy to say “model it” – but what does that really look like?
- Name the problem: I have started to give instructions 3 times and every time I’ve been interrupted.
- Name the feeling: I’m feeling really frustrated and ignored.
- Name the end goal: The instructions I’m giving are important. I want you to hear them and feel content again so I can support you.
- Name your options: I could yell, but I know that wouldn’t feel good. I could walk away, but that wouldn’t help me reach the goal. I could take a few deep breaths to help my body feel calm. ….. Now that I’ve taken a few deep breaths I feel ready to work through this. I know I can’t control your actions, I can only control my actions. I can check in to see if there are any other questions before I give instructions. Do you have any questions? No questions, okay. Are you kids ready to listen now?
So next time the babysitter cancels at the last minute, take the extra minute to verbalize your emotional regulation. You’ll feel even better about the whole thing because you just modeled a good skill for your kids without much extra leg work!
What would you like to hear about next? How can I support you future kindergarten parents?