Emotional Regulation / Self Control
- Help your child to identify the signals their body sends to them when they’re upset.
- Ask questions such as: Do you feel tightness in your chest? Do your shoulders become tense and scrunch up? Does your face feel warm? Do your eyes squint? Does your brow furrow? Do you talk loudly or shout?
- Practice taking Brave Breaths with your child:
- Inhale slowly from your belly up to your nose; exhale through your mouth, all the way back down to your belly.
- For some people it helps to pretend they’re smelling a flower when breathing in and blowing out a candle when breathing out.
- Inhale for about 3 seconds, exhale for 4 to 5 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
- Talk with your child about options for dealing with emotions in positive ways, e.g., talk to an adult, walk away, draw a picture, write in a journal, take Brave Breaths.
- Support your child’s choice of options discussed and help them move on.
Expressing My Feelings
- The first step in expressing your emotions is to understand and label how you feel.
- Encourage your child to take a deep breath and think about how he/she is feeling.
- What is your child’s facial expression, tone of voice and body language communicating?
- Have your child label his/her feeling, “I feel ________.”
- Talk with your child about healthy ways to express emotions (Talk about how he/she is feeling, draw a picture or write in a journal about how he/she is feeling, take a break, do some deep breathing, get some exercise, get involved in an activity).
- Model healthy ways of expressing emotions.
- Remind your child that there aren’t “bad” emotions. Everyone feels angry or sad at times. We can learn healthy ways to express our feelings.
- Provide positive feedback when your child expresses emotions in a healthy way.
Setting a Goal
- Talk with your child about achievable goals and brainstorm ideas. For example, making his bed every morning for the week.
- Have your child write down his/her goal and post it where he/she will see it regularly.
- Discuss strategies to help your child reach the goal. For example, post a note reminding your child to make his/her bed each morning or, have a chart with the days listed so that your child can make a check each day after making the bed.
- Provide positive feedback for small steps and for reaching the goal.
Being a good listener supports our relationships with others, participation in sports and other activities, school success and many other areas of our lives. To practice this skill at home:
- Model good listening behavior for your child (e.g., look at him when he/she is talking, pay attention and be engaged)
- When it’s time for your child to listen, remind him/her of the steps involved:
- Look at the person talking
- Be quiet so you can hear
- Focus and pay attention to what is being said
- Show that you are interested and engaged (nod your head, smile)
- When it’s your turn to talk, ask follow up questions
- Provide positive feedback to your child for being a good listener.