WHAT IS EMOTIONAL REGULATION AND WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT FOR OUR KIDS?
Emotions are our feelings.
Everyone experiences emotions, and emotions have an important purpose.
Emotions are designed to bring our attention to important things that are happening in our lives. These can be big or small events.
Some emotions are positive, such as joy & happiness, while others such as sadness, & anger are considered negative.
But all of our emotions are important.
Emotions can teach us what to do more of (playing makes me happy), or what to avoid (the dog next door scares me).
Emotions are a normal and healthy part of our everyday lives.
Both positive and negative emotions work together to teach us, give us a rich variety of experience and generally make life interesting.
Healthy emotional development occurs when we are free to feel and express our emotions, and when our feelings, both positive AND negative, are acknowledged and accepted by others.
The key to teaching our children how to manage their feelings is to give them plenty of practice at expressing their feelings.
WHY IS EMOTIONAL REGULATION SO IMPORTANT?
We all need emotional regulation for a happy life.
We all deserve a happy life, and we certainly all want a happy life for our children.
Emotional regulation gives us the freedom to experience, express and learn from our emotions. It builds emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence then gives us the skills to build supportive and nurturing relationships – with our friends, partners and in our workplaces.
These healthy relationships are the key to a happy life.
So while it sounds strange, our childrens positive AND negative emotions are important to their happiness in life.
Emotional regulation also has a role to play in your childs ability to concentrate and focus their attention, which is increasingly important as they reach school age, then later on join the workforce.
If you feel that this is something you need to work on yourself then the good news is that you can improve your emotional regulation at any stage of life.
Let’s discuss how you can rehearse emotional regulation on your own at home….
WHAT PARENTS CAN DO TO BUILD EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
For parents, this means taking the time to help your child name their feelings, guide them towards expressing their feelingsin ways that don’t hurt themselves or others, and for you to be calm enough to ride out the emotion with your child.
Sounds easy, right?
If you have young children you’ll understand how hard this can be.
As parents, one of the hardest things to do is to stay calm in the face of our child’s negative emotions.
Total meltdown in the supermarket, anyone?
We’ve all been there.
To teach our children emotional regulation we need to start by regulating ourselves.
Sometimes it can be VERY difficult for us to take the time to reflect on what is going on for our child, rather than reacting to shut down the negative emotion as quickly as possible.
But taking the time to name your child’s feelings, help them express them appropriately and to regulate our own reactive feelings is absolutely what we need to do to teach our children how to cope with their big feelings.
HOW CAN MUSIC HELP?
Music is super fun for kids
It’s also a great way for kids and parents to connect and strengthen their relationship, building trust so that you can work well together when times get tough.
A TLC Music session provides a great framework for discussing, processing and expressing our emotions.
The underlying structure of the music group means there’s time to pay attention, time to interact with others, time to get busy, and time to calm down. Providing support for kids to practice these transitions helps them regulate their feelings and manage their energy levels.
A TLC Music session offers your child many ways to connect with others, use up some energy, express themselves and practice being calm and quiet too. The sessions are designed to help you and your child build a ‘toolkit’ of activities and strategies you can use at home.
YOU’RE DOING GREAT
Good on you for reading this far and taking an interest in your child’s emotional wellbeing!
Parenting is a tough gig and you’re doing great. Supporting our children’s emotional health is one of the most important things we can do for their future happiness and the happiness of our society.
A child who is allowed to understand and express their emotions
grows into a happy healthy adult.