9 Calming Ideas for Parents That Also Teach Emotional Regulation
Being able to help an upset child requires that adults be in control first. It's not so easy to do sometimes!
Here is a list of ways you can do some self-care, self-talk, and self-discovery.
Just like Spaceman Sam teaches children to follow the four “Samisms” in the story, parents can practice doing the same thing. Here’s how:
Feel It! Identify where in your body you feel your emotions. Accept and welcome the message your body is giving you.
Say It! Talk it through with someone to help you identify what feelings you’re having, explore where they might be coming from, observe the thoughts you are having, and notice what action you are doing.
Calm It! Choose a strategy that will help the feelings in your body change e.g. deep breathing and then do that until you feel calm and in control.
Solve It! Choose a thought to focus on such as, “I can do hard things.”, see your future self doing the hard thing and imagine the emotion you want to have such as proud. Then, encourage yourself by reading the poster in Joseph’s room: Tomorrow… I will be a day older. Tomorrow… I will be more practiced. Tomorrow… doing hard things will be a little easier. Now you’re ready to share your calm with your child!
Create a Calm Down Plan for yourself.
Be emotionally generous to yourself.
Notice throughout the day what you need and fill that need.
When you don’t have alone time to nurture yourself, join your child in activities that are fun for both of you e.g. take a walk with your child in the stroller, play an outdoor game, dance together, in a safe environment and with clear boundaries, play a game that gets you laughing like a “snowball” fight with rolled up socks. Bonus: You’re also connecting with your child!
Some stress busters to try: Sleep, reduce demands, move, notice what you’re thankful for, focus on the future you want for your family, cultivate skills such as optimism, self-control, confidence, perseverance, and patience, accept mistakes and learn from them, seek support from others, spend time in nature, find the peace within you.
Use apps such as Calm and Headspace.
Break down your self-care needs into physical, emotional, cognitive, spiritual, and relational and plan how you can incorporate these needs into your daily routine.
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