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Importance of Learning Emotion Regulation Skills

Importance of Learning Emotion Regulation Skills

Everyone has emotions – it’s part of being human. Emotions allow our bodies to react to situations that can be good or bad. Emotions play an important role in mental health and well-being for each person.

If you are a parent, you have likely noticed that your child’s emotions (and your own!) can sometimes be bigger, stronger, last longer and can cause problems. Emotions like fear can play out as anger, frustration, anxiety, and sadness. These big feeling can also lead to outbursts that can even include physical or verbal attacks if they are not managed well.

Learning to manage these big feelings and to properly respond is important to build a good quality of life for each child and their family. This skill is often called “emotional regulation.”

Researchers have created helpful steps to manage big emotions. There are choices families can make to help their child manage emotions better. These skills are great for anyone who wants to have better relations with other people, and to better adapt to our surroundings. That means all of us, doesn’t it! Even very young children can explore these skills.

When it feels like emotions are starting to control you, practice these steps so that they become part of your family’s automatic response:

Become aware of your emotion and “name it to tame it
Parents can share terms or phrases for their child to use when big emotions start to grow. This might include comments such as, “I can see you’re feeling disappointed that the playground is closed” or “I’m starting to feel frustrated and overwhelmed right now.” This Feelings Thermometer creates an visual aid to help name emotions. Bloom is also building a training program for families.

Understand how your body feels and why
Tools like this body map can help your child learn how he/she feels when a big emotion hits him/her.

Press the pause button in your body
Learning to stop (like pausing a movie for a moment) can help your child accept the emotion and think about ways to calm down. The 6 second pause helps explain this for children. This skill is also explained for adults here.

Calm your feelingsWhen your brain is overwhelmed with emotions, taking action to calm your body can be easier than trying to find a new perspective. There are many breathing and relaxation skills that young children can quickly use to lower emotional outbursts. Bloom’s child program will also teach each child to calm their big feelings to adapt better to his/her surroundings.

Build in more positive activities
A list of things that makes your child happy is a good way to start thinking about how to change situations that create anger or anxiety. This article on 7 Habits of Happy Children may help parents talk with their child about this step.

The good news? These proven steps can help you and your child learn to manage big feelings. These steps also work for parents, especially since children learn from their most important role models. It is especially important for young kids to handle their emotions as they start to interact with other children in school.

How do you find out when your child needs help with their emotions?

Sometimes big emotions are tied to medical and mental health conditions. It can be hard for parents to find good information about this, and we at Bloom want to help. Be sure to look for more blog posts!  In addition, here is more information about us:

We have a newsletter you can join to learn more about child behavior and ways to improve it.

  • We are building a program that can help you check on your child’s emotion regulation, even when he/she is not with you, and give you ways to help them develop coping skills.
  • We’re working with key advisors who specialize in child behavior and mental health.