09 Jan 10 Mind-Body Therapy Ideas To Help Children At Home
Parents often request suggestions for helping their children learn how to calm themselves down at home when they are experiencing strong emotions.
This is also called self-regulation and it is so important. Children who do not self-regulate well are easily overwhelmed by strong emotions and may tantrum, hurt others or themselves. What follows are 10 quick tips to help your children self-regulate:
1. Teach children to label their emotions (tip: use a feelings chart or books on feelings to teach these skills).
2. Teach children to track their emotions over time to notice patterns (tip: create or download an easy weekly feelings chart and have child fill it in).
3. Discuss feelings openly. No emotions are off limits for discussion.
4. Model effective ways of dealing with stressful emotions. Parents teach by their behavior and children are always watching.
5. Limit viewing/playing of aggressive videos/games. Promote playing games that require higher level problem solving skills and cooperation. Encourage daily exercise and fresh air!
6. Reinforce when children handle their strong emotions in a healthy way. Verbally praise and describe specifically what they did well.
7. Teach deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and body scan (see audio downloads at nurturedlearning.ca, under therapy enhancers).
8. Teach how to notice thoughts (see audio download at nurturedlearning.ca, under therapy enhancers).
9. Teach that thoughts are connected to emotions and behaviours. Draw a visual to teach/support this.
10. Practice, practice, practice! Consider a short course of therapy to teach or reinforce the mind-body connection and mindfulness.