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Self-Regulation for the Young Child

The Positive Parent | By Jamare Harris

December 2021

Self-regulation is one of the most important tools that you can possess. Where do we learn self-regulation? one might ask; we learn it as a child. You learn it by watching and absorbing the adults in your life. Particularly your parents.

You don’t just wake up one day as an adult and suddenly know how to self-regulate. It’s a practice, a tool that is built over time…or not. Think of your child(ren) as a toolbox. If the toolbox is empty, you will be ill-equipped when it’s time to do a job. However, if you build your toolbox, you will have something to pull from to fix the problem when issues arise. Does that make sense?

We need to provide our child(ren) with options for what they can do when they’re angry, sad, disappointed, or even stressed. Come up with ways that they can manage these big emotions so that when they do, in fact, have them, go to a tool instead of undesirable behavior that doesn’t meet their needs.

In addition to building your child(ren)’s toolbox, you have to be their example. Believe it or not, they look at what you do daily and absorb that information intentionally and unintentionally. How you react to situations, people and problems is how they will respond to situations, people, and problems. Showing them how to problem solve, take a break, and manage their emotions will help them immensely when it comes to self-regulation.

Having an emotionally healthy parent who is showing them how to work through what they’re going through will build their toolbox. We are all going to go through things in life. We want to make sure that we are preparing our children for when that time comes instead of sheltering them and trying to protect them from the inevitable.

Let’s show our children that they are capable of working through big emotions and adversity. Let’s provide them with the tools to be successful. That is how we support them. That is how we raise emotionally intelligent children and in turn an emotionally intelligent society.

Until next time. Stay positive parents!

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