5 Tips for Fostering Emotional Regulation in Children
Parents often find it overwhelming to find the right way to teach emotional regulation to their children. Which includes helping them deal with the inevitable stressors of everyday life. Helping children regulate their emotions at a very young age will help their development in academics, socially and morally. In this article we help parents/caregivers by providing 5 tips to encourage emotional regulation in children.
Here are some tips that parents/caregivers can use to cultivate emotional regulation in children:
1. Help them identify stress
The main goal of encouraging emotional regulation in children is to make them self-dependent in the future. Situations like attending school away from parents (boarding school), getting reprimanded by teachers, or someone taking away their favourite toy. These situations are stress inducing to children.
As parents/care givers if we can as far as possible help them to identify the little things that bring unpleasant feelings in them, this will help create awareness of their stressors and provide them the strength to deal with their emotions effectively as they grow up.
2. Help develop your child’s emotional vocabulary
Self-expression works great for emotional regulation in children. Often, a child experiences something that they are unable to explain, and the frustration that follows leads to an unpleasant reaction that creates further frustration for the people they may be interacting with.
A useful strategy is to create a chart with all the emotions named in it, with examples or face illustrations of how the particular passion makes us feel. Being able to call the feelings they are experiencing makes a child more vigilant and aware of their innermost feelings, and reduces the chances of emotional outbursts.
3. Lead by example
Children learn best through observation. Showing them what to do rather than verbally directing is sure to generate better results. For example, a child grows up with parents who treat each other with respect and resolve their conflicts without being abusive. This child will learn to be more emotionally balanced and resilient than a child who grows up with aggressive and abusive parents.
It is essential to show children that positivity is the ‘only’ way to deal with stressors, and the best way to do it is by practicing the same as adults.
4. Teach them about actions and consequences
When a child is aware of what their actions might bring to them, they will likely choose their steps carefully. Whether in the classroom or at home, we can engage in meaningful conversations with kids about what is an action and what could be its consequences. For example, teachers and parents could make a chart and list some activities with their potential impacts and ask the child to decide which actions they would choose.
5. Delay response time
Encourage the child not to give immediate reactions. Whenever the kid gets angry or is sad, ask them to hold back for a while and react after that. The delay in response time allows the fight-or-flight response to settle down, and in all probability, the child would respond less intensely than they would otherwise have.