Like adults, children need strategies to self-regulate.
This includes techniques for calming themselves down or winding themselves up when necessary.
Autistic kids feel many emotions, often in a very short span of time.
They need a little extra help getting their moods and feelings under control.
Here are a few ways in which you can teach your kids self-regulation skills that will last a lifetime.
Self-Regulation at Home
When it comes to self-regulation skills in children, the most important lessons you can teach them will start at home.
The goal of self-regulation is to teach kids how to understand and recognize when they may have had enough or when they may need to get started.
For example, does your child have a hard time getting ready for school in the morning or do they get anxious when they have homework after school, but are eager to go outdoors to play?
These are a few instances at home where parents can intervene and teach their children how to self-regulate.
One of the best approaches to getting children to self-regulate is to teach them how to name and be aware of their present feelings and compare them to their values.
This will help them to understand how to feel their feelings but behave in ways that are in line with their values.
For instance, you can start a family garden and have children care for it as a way to get them to calm down when they are feeling frustrated.
If your child is having difficulty falling asleep at bedtime, give them a favorite toy or read a favorite bedtime story to get them to settle down.
You can give teens a set of headphones (not an affiliate link) to drown out background noise so they can concentrate on their homework better.
Such strategies are excellent ways for kids to ground their feelings and concentrate on the tasks at hand.
Self-Regulation at School
It’s important to teach children how to self-regulate at school.
Self-regulation in the classroom teaches children how to focus on learning instead of being controlled by their emotions.
It is true that even in school, children can experience a feel a full range of emotions.
There are lots of situations that provoke emotional responses.
This includes getting good or bad news on a grade, to interactions with classmates, and even exchanges with teachers.
Self-regulation helps children recognize, understand, and articulate what they are going through.
Self-regulation then helps children find a way to either calm down or engage no matter the situation.
Self-regulation will bring kids into a calmer state that they can function well during the day.
For example, let’s say a child is upset because he received a bad grade.
It is important to teach your child how to pinpoint his exact feelings (anger, disappointment, sadness, etc.).
He needs to recognize how strong emotion prevents focusing.
Finally, he needs to learn to talk about his feelings to others.
As he talks things out, others can help him problem-solve, so that he can move on constructively with the rest of his day.
Try a few of these helpful techniques for improved interactions at home and at school.
What’s more is that many of these same techniques can be used in other settings as well to include while out in the community, during playdates and at social functions like birthday parties and family road trips to name a few.
It is important for children to be able to soothe themselves no matter what they are feeling.
Adults use such strategies all the time to de-stress and instantly make themselves feel better.
Give your children the same opportunities to enhance their ideal state of being.
These are lessons your children can hold onto for a lifetime of positivity, joy and increased well-being.
What are some ways you teach your children to understand and regulate their emotions and actions? Please share in the comments!
Thank you to Amy Williams for this guest post.