Clever tips to help your child regulate their emotions

Clever tips to help your child regulate their emotions…because we know, a calm home is a happy one!

Feelings are part of everyday life, but just like any other skill, your child needs to learn to regulate their emotions! But before you say, “oh golly – this will be tough”, we have developed some engaging techniques to help you wade through this time and make it to the other side calmly and ultimately happy along the way.

Through occupational therapy we aim to help your child identify what triggers certain emotions and teach them to manage those emotions themselves using various techniques.

Emotional regulation refers to your child’s ability to identify, label and manage their feelings. Here at OTFC Group we support, teach and help your child learn about the importance of regulating their emotions while learning and managing their feelings in a range of different ways to suit your child.

As we know, emotional response varies for each individual. But, each and every one is important to understand as they give your child information about the world around them, and help them to react to situations they’re faced with on a daily basis.

Guiding your child through a range of specially designed games and activities that provide them with sensory feedback can help them manage and self-regulate their emotions.

Understanding how their body feels, such as “if Im angry, my heart beats faster”

Because it is ok to get frustrated, but what do we do when we are frustrated?

Activities that provide your child with certain input, such as a form of deep pressure or a swing, may help lower their initial arousal/emotion so we can then reflect how they feel following this specific input, therefore building their ability to self-regulate.

As your child also engages in challenging sensory based games, obstacle courses and other activities, their emotional regulation, frustration tolerance and resilience can be addressed as well.

It’s important to use those challenges as a time to identify and validate how they’re feeling and how to support them through that emotion. Understanding how we get our body to feel good again. Additionally, where appropriate we can work with you and your child to design personalised resources which may prompt your child to identify, label and self-regulate their emotions in a range of environments.

9 activities for you to do at home to assist with your child’s emotional regulation: 

  1. Bubble Monsters/blowing bubbles which encourages deep breathing. This is a jug of water with a splash of detergent and a big straw, to blow into and make a bubble ‘volcano’.
  2. Steam roller rolls with the gym ball – adult rolling an exercise ball up and down the child’s body with increasing firmness to provide deep pressure feedback.
  3. Running and crashing into a soft crash mat/bean bag.
  4. Swinging on equipment.
  5. Hot dog rolls – rolling child up in blanket, covering with pillows and pressing down on the child’s tummy.
  6. Breathing exercises – 5 finger breathing, holding your tummy and feeling it move, blowing whistles.
  7. Climbing into enclosed spaces (like cubby house or tee pee).
  8. Mindfulness exercises.
  9. Climbing into a Lycra tunnel or stretchy body sac.

Here at OTFC Group we also recommend parents ask their Occupational Therapist for personalised recommendations as to the input of a psychologist and it’s beneficial for your child. Psychology input where necessary can guide you on how to best assist your child in regulating their day-to-day emotions. Psychologists focus in on emotional regulation from a different perspective, which may be beneficial.

For more information on how we can help with your child’s emotional regulation, we’d love you to contact us and have a look around our website here at OTFC.

OTFC Group – We’re Influencing Lives. Creating Possibilities. Making a Difference

OTFC is a South Australian clinic-based service that is centrally located and services children and adolescents from birth through to 21 years of age both locally and nationally. Dedicated to providing a client focused approach where children and families feel validated in their concerns, supported in difficult times, encouraged to be proactive and inspired to facilitate change.


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