Self-regulation is the ability to monitor and control our own behavior, thoughts or feelings altering them in accordance with the demands of a situation. While we often expect children to be well-modulated, it is most helpful when we teach them what being regulated “feels like”.
Whether you teach, love or parent children from pre-school to high school, having the “felt sense” of internal regulation is helpful at any age. Here are 3 simple activities to help students experience self-regulation. CLICK on the IMAGE to download for personal and professional use.
1. Talk with your children about the fact that we all have an engine inside us that revs up or calms down depending on what we are doing. When we feel excited, anxious or nervous our engines rev up. We need to be our brains “best coaches” by helping our bodies calm down.
2. Model for the child how to “coach” their brain. Step 1: Help your child begin to notice their own escalation. “Let’s talk about what it feels like when you are in class and your teacher calls on you. What happens to your body? Does your heart begin to race? Do you think, ‘It’s my turn now, she’s going to ask me a question.’ In that moment, you want to coach your brain to be alert while your body remains calm. So when you hear your name called, take a big deep breath and turn toward your teacher so that you can hear what she asks you.” Step 2: “When we feel anxious we tend to rush, so remember, go ‘Slow-Mo’. Slowing down and being present will help you to focus, think and respond.”
3. Practice. Role-play different scenarios. “What happens when…” How will we be our ‘brains best coach’? What will we say to ourselves? What will we notice about how our body feels? What will we do to remain alert yet calm? Think about a time when you feel calm. How does your body feel then? That’s the feeling we are aiming for when we feel anxious or stressed.
Helping children begin to be mindful of the felt sense of the difference in feeling revved up or calmed down is the beginning to better self-control.
In 2017, Wendy Young and I shall be teaching more than 25 activities to enhance thinking, self-regulation, learning and behavior online for CE. We shall teach you how to use many of the activities from Bloom, Musical Thinking and 70 Play Activities including, “What’s in it for me?” “The Purpose Circle” “The Love Notes” “Play Math” and more. Produced in easy to listen to videos with useful classroom handouts, this is an activity-filled webinar series designed to enliven and transform your work integrating current science, tools, and strategies. Sign-up to receive FREE activities and learn about upcoming events and webinars here.