Promoting Self-regulation in Teens and Kids

Setting rules with a certain level of responsibility will strengthen intrinsic self-control and assist children in remaining disciplined under unusual circumstances.

Self-regulation is the ability to manage one’s emotions and behavior in order to manage one’s personal and professional life better. It is the basis of a good living and adds on to an individual’s overall satisfaction level. Self-regulation adds a dimension of balance to an individual’s life. And it also supports an individual in his/her decision-making across the various stages of life.

Eminent researchers have defined self-regulation as a process of training on the right methods that help an individual to develop self-control. And today, it is considered an essential skill for our kids, teens, and adolescents.

There are numerous benefits of promoting self-regulation skills

Let’s take a quick look at these benefits before we discuss the strategies to build these skills in our young learners 

  • Healthy relationships with peers and family members.
  • Instills a never say die spirit.
  • Helps to live in harmony with others by making good choices.
  • Inculcates qualities like perseverance that determine academic and overall success.

Owing to the numerous benefits of these skills, top educational institutions use a variety of strategies to help students develop these qualities.

Here’s our list with the top picks amongst these strategies:

1. Create Rules

Simple rules in the classroom or at home can help the child to develop self-regulation. These rules can be good as reminders when kids get impulsive and help to instill self-regulation habits in them. Let the students know that they ought to follow the basic rules while being in the classroom (such as raising their hand before speaking, not interrupting abruptly, and seeking permission to move out, etc.). Because all these rules will strengthen their intrinsic self-control and help them to stay disciplined within a group. You can create catchy one-liners and jot them on a chart paper to remind them of these. And similarly, parents can create simple family rules to help the kids gain more self-control.

2. Physical and mental relaxation

Self-regulation is possible only when the mind is in a calm state. Hence, you must focus on training the child’s mind to stay calm and composed. This can be done through breathing exercises, yoga, and calming activities like art and craft. Let the students spend some time with these activities. And try to schedule these mindfully within their short breaks or leisure time. A simple diaphragmatic breathing technique is beneficial for both the physical and mental health of the individual. Hence, you can incorporate these in your classrooms as breathing exercise breaks or simply the class with these. At home, parents can also practice simple breathing and meditation exercises with their kids. Because these simple activities will lay the foundation of a healthy mind in a healthy body.

Mindful activities like these should be a part of a child’s daily routines. Because it will help the child to be more self-aware and in turn support better lifestyle choices.

3. Train the brain

This one is equally important!

Talk to the kids about self-regulation habits. And let them know the ideal ways of behaving during a quarrel or unpleasant happening in life. Discuss simple problems of a squabble in the school, or an act of hitting unnecessarily by a fellow classmate. Allow the child some time to think and respond. And explain the process of thinking before reacting impulsively. Tell the child about the desirable behavior and its impact on the onlookers. And help him/her to understand how anger and impulsiveness can lead to great damage later on. 

Be a role model yourself and exhibit polite and calm behavior. This will help the child to understand and grasp the manner of behaving in an adverse situation perfectly. So discuss these scenarios and always try to lead by example.

4. Make use of digital aids

We are fortunate to avail the blessing of this ‘Information Age’. And the best  information sources (websites, applications, portals, tools, etc.) are now handy for our anytime access. You can download a couple of applications (many of these are also free of cost), and help your child develop self-regulation skills. These are easy to use and work really well in training the child’s mind to delay instant responses. Other than this, guided lessons of meditation and lifestyle management applications can also be great picks for you. Because these can help your child to learn and understand the importance of self-control. And will build resilience in general life.   

5. Work on their emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence and self-regulation often go hand in hand. Hence, you must start by imparting the basic knowledge of emotions to your kids. And later help them to express whatever they are feeling. Many times, elementary level kids also find it difficult to regulate their emotions. Because struggle to find the right words to express themselves. Acquaint your child/children with the vocabulary of emotions. So that he/she becomes more expressive. And gradually the child will also understand more about these emotions in everyday life.

Speak to your child about the basic tactics of regulating emotions. Such as developing a let go attitude for unpleasant things. And delaying responses to cut down on one’s impulsiveness. This emotional intelligence is the basis of a happy and a successful life. So let the child know and master his/her emotions instead of being a slave to these. One aspect that is more important in this regard is that you must never teach the child to suppress or ignore emotions. Because this can further lead to mental health disturbances. And can make the child even unhappy and distressed one day.

Final Thoughts:

Emotional regulation is the key to successful life. It can help an individual to find a solution to struggles. And reduces behavior and other related threats. If your child is missing out on these self-regulation skills, try out these simple ways to help him/her learn about this imperative new-age life skill.

Hope this write-up was helpful for you!

Thanks for Reading!

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