How can you help your child with their emotions?
Emotional regulation for kids is important to ensuring children can think and thrive – building up their resilience and and emotional intelligence.
The problem is if we don’t help them navigate their emotions in a healthy way – their emotions can get stuck in their body and build up over time.
Teaching kids self-regulation is one of the most important character traits we can teach. Kids who are able to master self-regulation become masters of their learning, are more critical thinkers, and make healthier choices; and the benefits are life-long.
We’re sharing 4 of our top tips for helping your child navigate their emotions.
First let’s get a little nerdy- As parents it’s important for us to understand that a child’s brain hasn’t fully developed until 25 YEARS of age.
We’re talking about the last part of the brain to develop (aka the prefrontal cortex) The brain develops from front to back.
What’s the job of the prefrontal cortex?
The prefrontal cortex of the brain processes things such as reasoning, logic, problem solving, planning, memory, focus and attention, stopping impulses, and developing personality.
So if the child’s prefrontal cortex is last to develop…a lack of these skills can make meeting adult expectations a challenge in some cases.
What to do when your child is having an emotional meltdown?
- Meet their basic needs – are they fed and are they rested? Are they not in a loud, over-stimulated environment as loud noises and bright lights can overwhelm a little nervous system. If they haven’t had their basic needs met…then fill them
- Hold space for them – pick them up and take them into another room (away from another sibling for example) and let them know that you’re there for them (and there for cuddles or whatever they need when they’re ready). Do your best to avoid trying to make it all better for them (even though that is your natural instinct as a human) as this is not helping them learn to regulate their own emotions. Only once they have started to calm down…can you talk to them.
- Ask your child where they feel the emotion / pain / heat / symptom in their body. Get your child to breathe into wherever they’re feeling that emotion (usually the heart, the stomach or the head). Tell them to take big breaths like they would if they were blowing up a big balloon or blowing out candles on a cake,
- Ask your child to picture a colour related to where they’re feeling the symptom in their body. Usually the colour will relate to the Chakra system – each colour represents a different energy centre. The different colours will help to point to the underlying issues to what is causing the symptoms / pain.
- Red = colon / safety
- Orange = reproductive system / creativity
- Yellow = digestive system / identity
- Green = heart / acceptance.
- Blue = throat / communication.
- Purple = vision / intuition
- Once your child has tapped into their body – Get them to ask their body what it needs.
By working through these steps, both you and your child have come to a place of peace.
Your child has expressed what they’ve needed to. They’ve recalibrated their nervous system. They’ve learnt how to tap in and become in-tune with their body and asked their body for what they need.
They’ve done all this by communicating with another person.
Please note these are general guidelines and a lot of the time it’s not safe or appropriate to go through these steps. So use your super parent intuition.
If you feel like you need any additional help…we have a large network of professionals we work with that we can refer you on to.
At Open Space we use a technique called NET (Neuro Emotional Technique) – to identify and bring awareness to any underlying issues held inside the body.
So please give this technique a go with your children and remember to share it with your friends who you think it would help too.
Now remember…by healing yourself, you inspire your tribe and transform your world.
Yours in great health,