Helping children with emotion regulation early on is essential to their long term well-being. Children who regulate their emotions well are able to use different strategies to manage their emotions and thus are less likely to engage in behaviours that lead to negative consequences. Here are some tips if your find that your child is having trouble regulating their emotions:

.Acknowledge their emotions. Your child may not be able to identify their emotions so label it for them instead. Acknowledge their emotions calmly as emotions either positive or negative are all acceptable. 

.Demonstrate strategies to calm down and have your child follow. It is essential to help your child calm down as they will then be more open to discuss with you what happened.   

i.     Belly Breathing. Take slow deep breaths in through your nose, fill your belly with air then exhale. 

ii.     Five finger breathing. Use your pointer finger to slide up and down each finger of the other hand. Breathe in as you slide up and breathe out as you slide down. 

iii.     Counting. Count slowly one to ten.

iv.     Involve your child to take part by asking which strategy they prefer or simply observe which strategy engages them the most. You can also be flexible with the strategies. If it takes longer than counting to ten for your child to calm down, continue counting. If your child feels more engaged belly breathing with a breathing ball, try it! Explore and practise these strategies in a fun atmosphere when the child is calm.

Caption: Breathing ball.

.Discuss their behaviours and their consequences, again when your child is calm. Try to keep it short and simple. You can also use visuals to help the child better understand the sequence of events. Be empathetic during this process and help him to understand that mistakes happen, but what’s important is that we learn from them.  

.Teach your child what they can do differently next time. An important part of knowing what to teach your child is to identify your child’s desires. Teach him what he can do instead that is appropriate next time to fulfil his desires. For example, you can tell your child to ask when they can get the preferred item instead of hitting and kicking. If the child has a long history of hitting and kicking when the preferred item is taken away you may need to prompt the child in the moment to ask, “When can I have the (name of toy)?” 

.Reach out to an expert. If you still find that your child is struggling to manage their emotions don’t hesitate to reach out to an expert. It may be that your child needs to re-build their rapport with you or they may need to learn more skills to help with his emotion regulation such as in communicating, waiting and tolerating denial of requests. Don’t be discouraged!