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7 Mar 2024

From Chaos to Calm: How to Nurture Self-Regulation

In my role as a speaker in schools, I have the privilege of connecting with many parents and educators. From their insights and my personal experiences as a mother, I’ve come to understand that one of the most daunting challenges lies in effectively nurturing self-regulation in not only children/students but also ourselves. 

Have you ever experienced a moment when you’re feeling perfectly composed and then, out of nowhere, something happens that triggers your emotions to go into overdrive? In an instant, you react in a manner that leaves you feeling guilty. You may be preoccupied by a sense of remorse as you replay the situation in your mind, pondering how you could have handled it differently.

When my eleven-year-old son is not listening or is agitated, it triggers frustration within me which can easily lead to anger. Responding from one of those emotions can result in giving unreasonable consequences or regrettable responses.

We often hear about the importance of teaching children self-regulation. However, the challenge becomes practicing self-regulation ourselves in order to effectively instill this skill in them. You can’t help a child regulate until you have self-regulated first.  ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ doesn’t work anymore.

Consider giving these simple, yet impactful strategies to take you from chaos to calm.

For Parents/Educators:

  • Name your emotion: For example, say, ‘I’m feeling frustrated.
  • Notice physical signs of emotions such as rapid heartbeat, clenched hands or muscle tension.
  • Pause and take deep breaths. This helps you manage your own emotions and demonstrates self-regulation to the children/students. When you’re feeling calm, you’re better able to assist others in regulating their emotions.

While nurturing self-regulation can be challenging, the benefits are worth the effort. Not only does it cultivate stronger relationships, it also reduces anxiety, lowers stress, builds resilience and fosters empathy.

Until next time…

29 Jun 2021

It’s been one tough school year!

Even though amusement parks have been closed, I have felt like I have been riding a roller coaster with lots of ups and downs. School opened, school closed, school opened, school closed…causing my emotions to be all over the place – sad, happy, frustrated, disappointed, excited, upset – you get the picture.

That’s why I decided it was more important than ever to focus on gratitude – to focus on what meant a lot to me – what I valued most. I realized that ‘the practice of gratitude’ benefitted me, not only mentally and physically, but also emotionally. Focusing on what I appreciated shifted my mood and mind to a happier state.

With that in mind I want to give a HUGE round of applause to:

Educators (in all capacities): Connecting with students through a screen is tough. Even though you had to quickly adjust and adapt to a new way of interacting, you stayed committed to keeping students interested and engaged. You made a difference for so many kids. You handled their silliness, their emotions & their interruptions with grace.

Parents/Guardians: Being home with your children 24/7 was a test of your patience, endurance and ingenuity. You had to take a more active role in your child’s education, even though you may have been working at the same time. You survived your kids constantly reminding you, ‘I’m hungry. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m hungry.’

Students (including my son Kai): It was a tough go. They had to give up so many routines they looked forward to, like recess, taking the school bus, after school activities, socializing with friends and for some, the before and after school programs. My son told me, even though he could see his teachers and friends virtually, it wasn’t the same as in-person, making it more difficult to stay motivated.  I thank our children for being brave, determined, tolerant and patient (a difficult one for all of us).

I believe that no matter what is happening in your life, it is possible to focus on what you are grateful for, even if it’s the tiniest ‘gratitude’. Sometimes, for me, it was simply the thought of sitting quietly for five minutes sipping a coffee.

Wishing you Joy, Fun & Laughter!

Until next time…