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How to Practice Self-Regulation

Welcome back to our blog series on self-regulation! In our first blog, we talked about what self-regulation is, and how it’s a skill we can all practice. Now it’s time to put that understanding into action. Find some ways to work on self-regulation with your young one in our blog, and set up a time to visit one of our educational daycare centers in Minnetonka, Maple Grove, Plymouth, or Eden Prairie! We look forward to hearing from you!

Model Accordingly

Your child will pick up on everything — and we mean everything — that you say and do. For that reason, it’s essential that you model your own self-regulation tactics. Here’s an example:

The next time you’re frustrated, express (in a calm manner) that you are frustrated — make sure it’s not a situation that directly involves your child. Then, express how you’re reacting to the situation, and even go so far as to explain the why.
“I’m frustrated that I forgot to get broccoli at the store, because I needed it for the pasta recipe I wanted to make. I’m going to take a deep breath, and think of a fun new recipe to make instead! We can still have a great meal and time together, and I’ll make that pasta dish another night.”

Reflect Consistently

There are certainly going to be moments where your child does not react in a self-regulatory manner, and that’s normal! Use these moments for teaching opportunities. After you see your child react in a way that could have been handled differently, sit down as soon as possible (but when they’ve also calmed down) to have a discussion with them. However, if your child is reacting to a situation in a violent manner and/or causing harm or hurt to another person, immediate intervention is best.

“I noticed you threw Jonte’s ball away from them after they said they wanted it back. How do you think that made them feel? How would you feel? The next time someone wants a toy back, what can you do in that situation?”

Praise and Encourage

The minute you see your child react in a self-regulatory way, even if it’s something small, you should praise them and encourage their behavioral choices. Self-regulation is hard! Who wouldn’t rather just take a friend’s new toy, or eat a coworker’s delicious looking lunch of enchiladas? Always, always, always offer praise on a skill that your child is working on, until it becomes a regular behavior and not a rarity.

“Beatriz, I am so proud of you. You were upset that you didn’t get that doll in the checkout at the grocery store, but you accepted what was happening and stayed positive. I love watching you grow!”

The road to self-regulation isn’t easy, but it’s essential, and it’s one that helps your child grow into the wonderful person you hope they could be. For even more ways to help your child practice self-regulation, enroll them in an educational daycare environment like Yellow Brick Road! At our child care center, they’ll work with their peers and practice these skills consistently. Contact us to get started!